Vancouver is a beautiful city and I'm proud to call it my home, but have you ever stopped to see past the shops, and events, and vast amount of money that is in this city, to see the ever growing number of people in need here?
From 2014 to 2017 there has been a reported 30% increase in the amount of people who are homeless here. In spring of 2017 the number of reported homeless was at 3,600 + people. That's just the reported numbers!
We see them every day downtown, sleeping wherever they can find warmth and relative safety. We shrug and step over them as they beg for change or food while we sip on our lattes. We judge them for not trying hard enough, or getting the help they need on their own, and we go home every night to our warm beds with not a second thought as to where they rest there heads to sleep.
The reality is, so many of these people are ill, mentally and/or physically, they struggle with addiction, they have been through trauma, and in some cases they experienced hard times and just can't catch a break, which has landed them on the streets. Many of them don't know how to ask for help, or how to accept it, it's easier to accept the status quo of life on the street. To most they are invisible, but I see them as people, and I want to help.
I started project Christmas three years ago, out of my own pocket, despite the challenges I faced in my own life. Put my bills on hold, and poured as much into this as I could. Since then, every year I set out at Christmas and buy supplies to make as many Christmas gifts as I can to give to the homeless and then I set out on Christmas Eve on the streets downtown to give all my gifts out.
In the past each gift contained: a Christmas card, each with a handwritten note and signed by me, an individually wrapped Christmas chocolate, a $5 timmies gift card, a pair of socks, and a pair of mittens. Each gift is then wrapped to perfection, complete with ribbon and a candy cane.
This year I would like to go a little bigger, which is why I need your help. My goal is to make atleast 60 gifts (30 more than previous years) with additional supplies in each, and also collect as many new or like new sleeping bags as I can to give out.
You may ask, why not just donate to the food banks, or shelters and let them help. Well, my goal, aside from giving these people something that will help them, is to give them a moment of value. A second, when a stranger takes the time to approach them, to strike up conversation, to wish them a Merry Christmas, and to let them know that they do matter, they do have value, that someone does see them, does care, and wants to help. The responses to this simple act of kindness has been overwhelming. The smiles, and hugs, and sometimes pure shock, is worth all the work that goes into this.
I would be forever grateful for any amount you would be able to offer to help me achieve my goal this year and ask that all donations be made by December 15th at the latest so that I can purchase the supplies, and make the gifts in time to hand them out on Christmas Eve.
Unfortunately I am not a registered charity, this is a project I do from my own pocket, in my own name, so I cannot offer a tax receipt.
Thank you for your time, and generosity, from the bottom of my heart. Giving this gift to those who are in need is the best Christmas gift I have ever received myself, and I thank you for being part of it this year. <3
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