Vancouver charity aims for blanket coverage
Blanket BC co-founder Gregory Ould and his son Ben, now 8, after collecting thousands of blankets at the 2011 Drive on the Line campaign. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Blanket BC is looking your way Ryan Reynolds and Bif Naked. The annual drive is calling out for celebrity endorsements to help with this weekend’s Drive The Line campaign on the Canada Line for blankets and other cold weather gear for the homeless.
Last year, the campaign, under the tag line Spread the Word, Spread the Warmth, secured 8,000 blankets. Now the plan is for 15,000 blankets to meet an overwhelming number of calls from shelters across the Lower Mainland.
“We accept cash donations too,” said Gregory Ould, the organization’s co-founder. “Last year my brother Andy raised over $600 alone by asking for 50 cents or 50 bucks – whatever people can afford. It helped that our drive was during the Grey Cup weekend and we had excited, generous fans, especially Saskatchewan fans, regularly donating $50.
In its first few years Blanket BC was just a father/son project that Ould started with his son Benjamin, proudly proclaiming the two-year-old as the youngest ever co-founder of a non-profit organization.
Now nine-years-old, Ben does hours of sorting and delivery every week, infecting his dad with his optimism and drive, reminding Ould senior whenever his attention wanders, “Dad, we have to do this.”
“I want to be on that show Hoarders, so I keep all of the blankets myself,” Ould jokes when asked where the blankets end up. “Seriously though, the Sunday after the drive we get volunteers to sort them in the storage spaces donated by Maple Leaf Storage and then after checking for bedbugs we distribute them out to every single shelter in downtown Vancouver. Over the following weeks we deliver them everywhere from the Tri-Cities to the Fraser Valley.”
Blanket BC is still looking for volunteers to help cover eight stations on the Canada Line where they will be accepting donations Friday and Saturday. Interested parties can register on the website www.blanketbc.org to volunteer, and accepted donations include blankets, scarves, toques, gloves, head/neck warmers and pillowcases.