Project Winter Survival supplies 3,000 kits for homeless

Volunteers stuff gloves, scarves, toques, toiletries and more into dufflebags during The Bargains Group's Project Winter Survival event on Saturday. The volunteers helped load up 3,000 bags for distribution to the city's homeless.
Volunteers stuff gloves, scarves, toques, toiletries and more into dufflebags during The Bargains Group’s Project Winter Survival event on Saturday. The volunteers helped load up 3,000 bags for distribution to the city’s homeless.

The Bargains Group was filled with some 200 volunteers Saturday, Jan. 18 to pack winter survival kits that will be distributed to the homeless.

Project Winter Survival, now part of national charity Engage and Change, saw 3,000 kits assembled and ready for distribution, said The Bargains Group president and CEO Jody Steinhauer, who founded Project Winter Survival.

Now in its 15th year, Project Winter Survival packages kits to be given to more than 190 social service agencies for hand out, including Canadian Red Cross, Covenant House, Out of the Cold programs, and the Salvation Army. Each kit is filled with basic supplies to help those living on the streets stay warm during cold winter months.

“It was the biggest and best event we have had,” Steinhauer said, adding she received requests for 12,000 kits this year.

The kits will be picked up Saturday, Jan. 25 by representatives from homeless shelters and frontline service agencies to immediately distribute to those in need.

The Bargains Group is located on Caledonia Road, south of Lawrence Avenue West.

“Everyone really came together in our community,” she said of the Jan. 18 event. “The quality of donated products, the incredible group of volunteers, more sponsors this year. A homeless man read a poem about what it’s like to be on the streets.”

Last year, Project Winter Survival expanded to Vancouver, and now hopes to reach all major cities in need from coast to coast, Steinhauer said.

“It’s very sad this is needed,” she previously said in an interview. “As our team assesses demand, demand is up. Engage and Change is all about bringing the community together to make a difference for the less fortunate. I was speaking at Seneca College (recently) and a student came up to me after and said he just got out of a shelter and our kit kept him alive. We need more companies to get on board, to sponsor us and individuals to sponsor us.”

A $25 donation helps sponsor Project Winter Survival kits, and Engage and Change issues tax receipts for all financial donations.

Though kits have been assembled, Steinhauer said financial contributions are always needed and appealed for donations. To donate, visit www.engageandchange.org

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