Remax realtor Erica Tucker (left) and Royal LePage’s Sheila Potter are organizing this year’s Realtors CARE Blanket Drive in Surrey and North Delta. (Photo: Amy Reid)

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

Last year, the drive collected 402 bags of warm winter clothing and blankets for Surrey’s vulnerable

Real estate agents are urging you to “clean out your closets” for the 23rd annual REALTORS Care Blanket Drive.

“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.

Tucker is volunteering with this year’s drive, which is said to be the largest and longest running in the Lower Mainland. She urges locals to give this season.

“It will feel good and it will go to the right people,” Tucker said.

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

Last year, the drive collected 402 bags of warm winter clothing and blankets for vulnerable people in Surrey, and Tucker hopes to beat that this winter.

“We want to crush the record.”

The drive runs from Nov. 14 to 21, and local realtors volunteer to collect warm clothing and blankets from drop-off locations. The items are then distributed to partner charities. In Surrey, the drive has partnered with Surrey Memorial Hospital, Hyland House, Nightshift Street Ministries and Surrey Urban Mission.

See more: HOMELESS COUNT: The toll of Surrey streets

Sheila Potter with Royal LePage is also volunteering in Surrey this year.

“We’re looking for new or gently used blankets, warm clothing, gloves and toques, boots,” she explained. “Then there are some charities that take bedding and things like that. And one of our newer charities is just toques and warm jackets because they’re (for) men off ships. There’s a ministry down near the docks.

“And even though it’s not part of it, we do find room for children’s clothing if we get it,” Potter added. “Last year we had a lady come in with 40 hand-knit sweaters. She’d knit them herself over the years.”

Potter has volunteered with the drive for 10 years.

“I just love doing it,” she said. “I go right down to Surrey Urban Mission at King George and 108th and it doesn’t scare me. There are people that are afraid of that neighbourhood but it doesn’t scare me. You see who you’re doing this for.”

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

One moment stands out in Potter’s memory.

“I remember walking into Surrey Urban Mission and there was a young lady there, and it was a sad state of affairs. She was rummaging through bags someone had previously delivered…. She’s standing there with a package of men’s underwear in her hands just looking like she’d won the lottery. They have nowhere to change, nowhere to do laundry, they just live a life we can’t even imagine.”

She also urged locals to give this season.

“It goes for a week officially and another week unofficially” said Potter. “I have so many people who know I do this, I do it all year round.”

Fraser Valley Real Estate Board says the drive has provided warmth to more than 300,000 people since 1995.

“So many people in need, from Whistler to Hope, have received a blanket or warm clothing over the years through the blanket drive,” said Gopal Sahota, president of the real estate board.

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

The drive is a partnership between the Fraser Valley, Greater Vancouver and Chilliwack real estate boards.

To join the conversation online, use the hashtag #RCBD2017 or go to facebook.com/blanketdrive.

There are 100 drop-off locations in the Lower Mainland and a full list is available online at rebgv.org/blanket-drive-drop-locations-0.

There are a dozen Surrey drop-off locations, including Guildford’s Sutton Group- Premier Realty (15483 104th Ave., 604-581-8400) and Team 3000 (306-6321 King George Blvd., 604-530-6090).

Visit blanketdrive.ca.

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