Hundreds of bags of clothes and blankets were collected in Surrey this year, as part of the annual Realtors Care Blanket Drive. (Submitted photo)

Surrey realtors collect 524 bags of clothing for those in need

Surrey’s NightShift Street Ministries was one of 70 charities to benefit from the drive across the Lower Mainland

Surrey realtors collected 524 bags of clothing and blankets for the city’s vulnerable this Christmas.

That beats last year’s total of 402.

Organizers say across the Lower Mainland, more than 36,000 people will receive warmth from the 23rd annual Realtors Care Blanket Drive this winter.

All donations remain in the community they were collected in and across the region more than 70 charities benefited this year.

In Surrey, NightShift Street Ministries was a recipient of this year’s drive.

It is “tremendously important in helping us stock up our supplies for the long, cold, winter months” said NightShift Clothing Co-ordinator Angie Paulsen. “We see the need in our programs grow every year so we are very grateful for the support.”

See more: Count finds 49 per cent more homeless people in Surrey

See also: More than 100 seniors living on Surrey streets: homeless count

The drive ran from Nov. 14 to 21, with realtors urging locals to “clean out your closets.” Donations were accepted at more than 100 real estate offices. Volunteer realtors collected, sorted and delivered the donations.

“It’s cold right now. Nobody even wants to go out without a pair of gloves, so imagine spending hours and hours in the night now,” said Erica Tucker, a Remax agent in Surrey. “It will go to the right people.”

See also: VIDEO: Surrey realtors want you to ‘clean out your closets’ for homeless

Fraser Valley Real Estate Board President Gopal Sahota said the initiative “wouldn’t be possible without the immense generosity of our communities, the support of our partner organizations and the continued dedication of our volunteers.”

“Thanks to you, many will be warmer and more comfortable this winter,” he added.

The blanket drive is a partnership between the Realtors of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board, and the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board and their communities.

See more: HOMELESS COUNT: The toll of Surrey streets

See more: VIDEO: Over 3,600 people homeless in Metro Vancouver

Organizers say it is the largest and longest running blanket drive in British Columbia. Since it began in 1994, it has helped more than 340,000 people in our communities keep warm and dry during the winter months.

Visit blanketdrive.ca for more information. For photos from this year’s campaign, visit facebook.com/BlanketDrive.

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