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How I’m Keeping the Homeless Warm this Winter

by December 14, 2014
filed under Activism
Topics ,

birdbraindesign

birdbraindesign.ca

I’m the kind of person who’s always on the go and thinking up new ways to keep busy. I pack my schedule so tightly with events and appointments that I often forget to leave room not for just myself, but for things I truly enjoy, like giving back to my community.

When I think about how #bundleupyeg came to be, I wish I could say I spent hours formulating this idea and brewing strategies to gain public interest and communicate the initiative. But that’s not the case…it just sort of happened.

In 2013, I was just about to embark onto a new career path, but had 2 weeks’ worth of time in my way before starting the position. Temperatures were plummeting below -30 degrees celsius and because of the frigid weather I wasn’t able to walk my dogs outside. That got me thinking about the homeless population in my city of Edmonton and how they were possibly staying warm in the deep freeze.

And that’s how #bundleupyeg was born.

The idea seemed simple to me — I had the time and Edmontonians had the donations. All I needed was a call to action.

With 2 weeks on my hands, a warm car in my possession and a very motivated desire to collect as much warm clothing as possible, I took to social media to call for any warm clothing donations that people had, but for whatever reason couldn’t deliver to shelters on their own time.

I put the call out to my social media networks on Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #bundleupyeg and the response was overwhelming.

In just 2 weeks, myself and my fiancé’s cousin Colin collected more than 45 bags of donated clothing from people across Edmonton, Stony Plain and Sherwood Park that we delivered to various homeless shelters and support organizations across Edmonton. It was a huge success.

There was no doubt in my mind that I would run the #bundleupyeg campaign again in 2014. But the challenge for me this year was trying to balance collecting as many clothes as possible while maintaining a 9- 5, Monday to Friday job in addition to teaching dance in the evenings during the week.

So, I built a standard website, setup an email account and had a logo developed to help spread the word and manage inquiries.

With the help of my amazing fiancé, Ryan, our weekends through the months of October to December have been dedicated to driving around Edmonton and its surrounding areas to collect and deliver donations. Throughout the week, both Colin and my dad have also generously donated their time to collections and deliveries.

102.3 Now! Radio set up a collection box for the month of December allowing anyone to drop off donations for us to pick up. And I joined forces with an incredible Edmontonian, Ashley Green of Love Letters 2 Strangers, to create a magical Sunday afternoon where anyone could visit us at Cory Christopher design studios and drop off warm clothing donations as well as write letters of love which we recently handed out at a local shelter.

It’s been a team effort, and it’s paid off. As of December 9, 2014 we’ve collected and delivered more than 150 bags.

I’m so honoured to be able to lead this initiative and hope that it truly makes a difference for those in need. There are no words to describe how grateful and appreciative I am for everyone’s support and volunteer time that has turned #bundleupyeg from an idea in my living room into a small movement that I hope continues to grow not only in Edmonton, but across the nation.

For more info on #bundleupyeg, click here.


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