Reaching out to those in need, Jewel Yourchek walked into a Maple Ridge seniors home asking if any of the elderly residents needed blankets.
The local realtor was greeted by a surprising and resounding “no.” But what proved more shocking was that the co-organizer of the Realtors Care Blanket Drive left that same seniors facility with a car full of blankets that she would in turn give to people living on the street or facing financial hardship.
Knocking on doors, reaching out to existing contacts in the community, and encouraging the involvement of other realtors in town have proved effective methods for Yourchek and Tyra Sauriol to solicit donations of all types of winter woolies for those in need.
“In Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, we collect hundreds of large bags of donations, all of which stay in our community and are given to people who need them,” said Yourchek, a realtor with Macdonald Realty.
Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver is holding its annual Realtors Care Blanket Drive from Nov. 26 to Dec. 3, and this duo is heading up the local efforts trying to collect new or gently used blankets, sleeping bags, warm clothing, coats and jackets, as well as new socks, underwear, and toiletries to help the community’s most vulnerable weather the cold, wet winter.
Last year, more than 300 large bags of donations were collected. The duo hopes to top 400 during this year’s drive.
Locally, those donations will be distributed through the Salvation Army Caring Place and Alouette Home Start’s community outreach workers.
ReMax Results, ReMax LifeStyles, Macdonald, Coldwell Banker, and Royal LePage Brookside realty offices are set up to accept donations locally, or people can find out more at www.blanketdrive.ca.
The blanket drive started 18 years ago in Vancouver.
The spirit of compassion has been embraced by realtors from Whistler to Chilliwack, but few communities have responded the way residents and business people in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows have through the years, said Sauriol, pleased that the donations stay here at home.
“A warm blanket or jacket can make a world of difference to someone on the street,” Yourchek added. “However, many of our donations go to people who are struggling to make ends meet, and keep a roof over their heads. There’s not always a lot left over for other necessities.”
That’s where the realtors, led by Sauriol and Yourchek, saw a need and offered to pitch in.
“The need is so great, and a simple gesture like going through your closet and giving things that you no longer wear, not only provides necessities for people, but also let’s them know that somebody cares,” Yourchek concluded.