After 15 years, the event has evolved into much more than an annual collection of blankets to help the homeless.

The 15th annual Realtors Care Blanket Drive collected more than 4,350 bags of clothing, coats and blankets for dozens of charities across the Lower Mainland in B.C.

“When you get to this level of literally thousands of people donating, it’s no longer one industry or group making a difference, it’s the entire community recognizing a need and pulling together as one,” says Scott Russell, president of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. The drive, which began in 1994 with a handful of Vancouver Realtors collecting a few hundred bags, now includes participating real estate offices from Whistler to Hope, plus extensive public and corporate support.

“Because of the downturn in the economy, we were worried initially that we wouldn’t be able to fulfill our goals for the charities,” said Paul Penner, President of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board. “Our member volunteers worked extra hard this year, not just in putting together donations but also in getting the word out and it paid off. We had to extend the drive an additional week just to get everything delivered.”

After 15 years, the event has evolved into much more than an annual collection of blankets to help the homeless. Jim Adam, president of the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board, says, “The original goal is still there. Many of the blankets, sleeping bags and coats we collect go to shelters and ministries who distribute them directly to people living on the streets. However, given the scope of the drive now, we’re thrilled to also support food banks and community service organizations that assist anyone who needs the help.”

Posted: 2010-02-02 07:28:21

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