Engage and Change helps Toronto’s homeless beat the odds during winter

York-based Engage and Change packed 3,000 survival kits during its Project Winter Survival Saturday, Jan. 21.

Volunteers from the organization made the packages at The Bargains Group Ltd. on Caledonia Road.

The packages will be distributed to 200 social service agencies, homeless shelters, and outreach providers across the GTA.

Engage and Change says winter inflicts additional hardships for Toronto’s most vulnerable.

“The growing plight of our city’s homeless goes from critical to deadly during the volatile winter season,” Project Winter Survival founder Jody Steinhauer said in a press release. “City cutbacks and overcrowded conditions mean increased numbers in need of warmth and shelter are left to fend off the elements as best they can. Unfortunately, the 3,000 kits that we provide can only offer marginal relief.”

Engage and Change said an estimated 5,000 people sleep outdoors and in shelters, including about 1,000 homeless kids, each night. Project Winter Survival has received more than 12,500 requests for kits, a 20 per cent increase over 2016.

Thanks to corporate and civic partners, Project Winter Survival will give Toronto’s homeless a fighting chance to beat the odds. Each kit contains such items as sleeping bags, clothing, food, and personal and health care items that often make a difference between life and death.

Since its inception in 1999, Project Winter Survival has assembled and distributed more than 30,000 winter survival kits to GTA and surrounding area homeless. For those less fortunate, a mere $25 donation per kit to Project Winter Survival translates into a lifeline of hope against the threat of death by exposure.

For more information or to make a donation, visit www.engageandchange.org