Jan

21

2013

Project Winter Survival: Giving the Homeless Hope

Project Winter Survival "Distribution Day" was so inspiring I just have to share the story with everyone!!!

On a Saturday morning, my Bargains Group team hosted Project Winter Survival -- Distribution Day at our office at 890 Caledonia Road. When I arrived the team was already there, working hard and preparing for the roughly 100 volunteers coming to help out.

There was such an incredible energy as the volunteers were showing up and getting to work. Everyone was engaging with their team and lending a helping hand as representatives from the 172 agencies began arriving, anxious to receive their Survival Kits. We had a big job ahead of us, with 3,000 kits to be distributed, but everyone was so excited to get to work!

It was an amazing sight! Many of these volunteers were tired and sore from last week's Packing Day, but they were ready to go again to help fight homelessness. I still can't get over how well the entire group came together! Who would have thought employees from rival banks could be laughing and engaging in some friendly competition as the kits were being loaded into the various agency vehicles? The smiles on volunteers' faces told the story of how good everyone felt to be helping out.

During the press conference we were lucky enough to have a homeless man, Peter, from Good Neighbour's Club speak to the volunteers. Peter shared his story that has taken him from living under a bridge to volunteering on Distribution Day, helping to get these kits to those who need him most. He couldn't stress enough how hopeless life could seem when living on the streets, and how the survival kits represented hope for so many people in such desperate situations. It was a beautiful moment and something I will never forget. It was incredible to hear just how much of an impact we make from someone who has experienced homelessness first hand.

I just couldn't stop smiling!

Of course there are tons of thank-yous to go around.

On behalf of myself and the entire Bargains Group team I want to thank the advertising agency BLAMMO Worldwide. On incredibly short notice, BLAMMO stepped in and created our amazing new ad campaign which we premiered at Saturday's "Distribution Day." We couldn't have gotten this amazing addition without the work of BLAMMO Worldwide, so thank you!

I would also like to thank each and every sponsor and volunteer who worked so hard to make Project Winter Survival 2013 a success. Every year we receive far more requests for Survival Kits than we're able to assemble, so the sponsors and volunteers make it possible to build and distribute as many kits as possible. In a perfect world Project Winter Survival wouldn't need to exist, but unfortunately there is a growing need for events like this, so thank you to everyone who helped out! I hope you are all very proud of what we accomplished as a group.

And of course, a huge thank you to Hain-Celestial Canada who later this week will host their own Project Winter Survival in Vancouver. This is the first event outside of Toronto and everyone involved is hopeful the this event will soon go national, which will go a long way to meeting the demand for these kits

Every year Project Winter Survival is a rollercoaster of emotion for me. It breaks my heart that there is growing demand from all over Canada for the kits, but at the same time it is an amazing feeling to know that everyone wants to come together and give back to their communities. The Bargains Group team is already looking ahead to next year's event so we can continue to grow and expand the reach of this amazing event.

I encourage you to visit projectwintersurvival.org and check out the photo gallery and media coverage of this year's event, and find out how you can get involved in Project Winter Survival!