2016 SEASON

For the past ten years “Straight to the Streets” (or S2S, as an event under Open Minds Respect Events - “OMRE”) has organized volunteers, collected warm clothing and distributed it directly to those living in, on, or close to the streets. The annual event has helped volunteers make a real connection and a difference on an individual basis.

For the past four years we have collected financial donations in order to purchase and assemble hygiene/care kits for those we serve. In our 10th year we started the process towards federally registered charity status, and are currently waiting for an officer to be assigned to our file (October 2016). We are officially incorporated as a Non-Profit, and are currently open to interested Board Members.

In the past years we have aligned ourselves with "The Good Neighbors Club"; a home-away-from-home for men over the age of 50 who are in shelters and rooming houses, bunking on a friend's couch, or even a park bench. We’ve set-up a distribution table at, and sent teams from, St. Christopher’s House at the corner of Queen St. and Bathurst St. We have worked and donated directly to women's and children's shelters in the city and sent separate teams with all relevant clothing donations and enough kits to accommodate all of their current patrons. We collected everything from Clothing and Cribs to Hand-warmers and Finances; and it all helped. Not to mention all those volunteers who took time to take part in our sorting, assembling or distribution events. We have raised nearly $20,000 in the past 4 years and handed out almost 1000 kits for those in direct need.

This year we are planning on giving out kits in Toronto, Halton and Hamilton to those in the specific sectors in need. Each of these kits will include:

Insulated lunch bags
Rain poncho
Chap stick
Toothpaste and travel toothbrush
First Aid
Emergency blanket
Warm gloves
Socks
Plastic cutlery
Toques
Mental health and addiction resource card
Wipes/moist toilette

We also have plans to add feminine hygiene products, underwear and extra socks to this list, as there were considerable requests for these items in the streets and shelters last year.

The cost of one of these kits would be over $50 if bought at a store, but with the help of Bargains Group we can buy each kit for close to $25.

We would like to set a target of $10,000 for our 11th year, as we are now also asking residents in these added communities of Hamilton and Halton to contribute locally. It will take a considerable amount of product (bought wholesale and discounted) to assemble this amount of kits.

We understand that some of our wonderful volunteers would like to make their own kits. We ask if you do so to please include all of the items as listed above. This way every person who we connect with will receive the same items.

We are focusing on funding for the kits, men’s coats and boots, men’s and women’s underwear (new only) and feminine hygiene products this year, but all clothing, baby items, bedding, blankets and winter accessories will be accepted for sorting and distribution as available. Anything that you can give will help someone who might not have a bed to sleep in every night, or a roof to keep them dry.

Please follow the facebook page for more detailed event info -www.facebook.com/straight2thestreets.
More information about teams will come as the day draws near but donations are needed now!


What we need to meet our goals:

• Financial Donations are needed more than ever in order to meet the new target for kits. Donations can be made via cheque, paypal, e-transfer or contact us direct for arrangements.
• Men’s and Women’s Underwear (new and in packaging only) and Feminine Hygiene Products. Contact us direct for arrangements.
• We are only accepting clean, gently used clothing this year with a priority for cold weather items for men, including coats and boots. We will accept other items to add to future distribution and for local clothing closets but these items are not currently a priority.
• We always need volunteers to help with sorting, kit assembly and distribution on the day of the main event; and now with two new areas being added, we need you more than ever.
• Team Leaders to motivate their friends and family to check the closet, assemble a kit or make a donation.
• Your help spreading the word via Social Media and by word of mouth. #S2S2016
• With our changing status we welcome large donor sponsorship, starting this year. Please get in touch to set up a meeting with one of our Board Members.
• If you're wanting to bring something else to the mix: socks are ALWAYS a huge need and prepaid cards for coffee are great.

We will have 3 main phases: Collection, Sorting/Assembling and Distribution – Let us know how you can get involved.

If you have any questions; please message us direct. We have a bigger team (board members) behind us this year and we’ll be doing our best to get back to everyone directly.

Thank you to all of our past supporters, volunteers and to everyone donating, making their own kits or planning to come out and help us distribute.

Please help us spread this press release widely and remember that we need to work together if we ever want to truly effect change.

You can make a financial donation through our PayPal account or via email money transfer to tbewick_bsp@outlook.com

Clothing or kit donations can be brought out on the day of the event or picked up in advance if needed.

If you are interested in assisting with sorting or assembling kits, or have ideas for donors or sponsors; please email tbewick_bsp@outlook.com with subject “RE: S2S”.


Thanks again for supporting Open Minds Respect Events 11th annual “Straight to the Streets” initiative, and for continuing to spread kindness where you can.

www.omre.ca



This year's schedule will be updated as information comes in: 
  1. 1
    S2S - Clothing Sort Day
    The Burlington Slam Project 4802 Capri Cres., Burlington, Ontario L7M 0H5
    Saturday, November 19 12 PM - 4 PM
  2. 2
    S2S - Winter Survival Kit Assembly Day
    This event is for the winter survival kit assembly. In the past, these kits have been made possible by items purchased with financial donations, in bulk, and include such items as : gloves, socks, soap, blankets, hats, toothbrush and toothpaste, etc. 4802 Capri Cres., Burlington, Ontario L7M 0H5
    Saturday, November 26 12 PM - 4 PM
  3. 3
    S2S Distribution Dates
    Toronto-Dec. 10 Halton-Dec. 3 Hamilton-Dec. 4
    More Information Will Be Given Closer to the Dates
Straight to the Streets 2015 

Thank you and wrap-up

As the founder and original organizer of this event, I'd like to take a moment to once again thank all of our incredible financial donors for this season of support. We set out to raise $10,000 this year, which was a huge target for us, but not unreasonable, given our expanded efforts into Halton and Hamilton, coupled with our recently solidified non-profit status.
 
Our goals were ambitious though, and while we didn't reach them entirely, we did raise $7,895, our highest total yet, and surpassed last year's final of $5715 by a significant margin. We purchased $7500 worth of hygiene and survival kit supplies and rented cube vans to deliver clothing and kits to both Toronto and Hamilton. We received and redistributed several hundred feminine hygiene products that were donated and purchased over the 3 months we collected items. We filled our basement with clothing and expanded our reach and connections in all of the communities we attempted to service. Thank you again to the following financial donors for making this year's giving possible:
 
Adnan Shahbaz
Krista Rusling
Luciano Ciampa of Blue Tec Construction
Drew Pallett
Greg Bewick
Russell Bawks
Ian French
Kam Assi of BLVD Construction
Doug Fregin of Infinite Potential Group
IRA McDonald Construction
David Pearce of Pearce McCluskey Architects
Megan Mutcheson
Romeo & Tina of Dixon Drywall
Ryan Duffy
Donna Danielli
Leigh & Bob Harford
Teresa Seaton of Teresa Seaton Studio & Gallery
Kim Verrall
Helle Brodie of Brodie & Associates Landscape Architects
Jeff Dickson of Jade Logic
Matthew Enright
Rishia Burke
Jason Andrews
Niccolo Cardarelli
Cas Staton
Kiesha Prince
Carol Tomalty
Akita and Friends
Morreen
Sara Hagerman
Aisha Yusuf
Wes Ryan
Ann Adema
Alison H.
Ryan Greeley
Tasha Momen
Tracy Taylor
Morgan
 
I have been humbled and amazed at the generousity and support that we have received once again this year - we are doing our best to be worthy of this trust and to make it count as effectively as possible. It is important to acknowledge that this was the first year we had a full board of directors involved with the planning and execution of all of the events for this year's drive. Where historically KJ and I have done whatever was needed to make it happen; it would not have been possible this year without the additional dedicated efforts of Kelsey Harford, Ryan Clark, Saraina Raspa and Dan Murray. Please make sure and acknowledge them if you have a chance, and check out their info on our website at www.omre.ca (we're always looking for new board members too, if that's you).
 
We continue to welcome suggestions for improved effectiveness and awareness, always need help with extra behind the scenes administration and coordination, and generally appreciate any feedback and encouragement we can get. Thank you all for believing in, and supporting, this vision of compassion and care.
We had some amazing volunteer support at our Clothing Sorting and Kit Packing events, as well as all distribution locations in Toronto, Halton and Hamilton. There are too many people to name them all, but a few special "thank-you's" to those who made the effort to attend more than once; Sonya, Debbie, Leigh, Susan, Megan, Joanne, Ryan and Yvette, and to everyone else please know that we truly appreciate every individual contribution; this really was a case of many hands making light work.
 
Over 300 packaged kits complete with shampoo, soap, socks, toothbrush and paste, rain poncho, thermal blanket, gloves, hats and cutlery were handed out over the course of 3 days (Dec. 12th, 13th and 19th) along with warm clothing, feminine hygiene products and additional loose hygiene products divided between our 4 main locations (TORONTO: Good Neighbor's Club & St. Christopher's House, HALTON: St. Albans Church in Acton, HAMILTON: The Wesley Day Centre). We had at over 40 garbage bags full of clothes (sorted for Men's, Women's and Children's), boxes of footwear, bags, household items, lunch containers, children's goods, extra socks and more. We sent teams into the streets and to the other local shelters to make connections and contributions, and reached as many people as possible in our outings.
 
We were asked for more than we had to give, but were thanked for everything we did. We are always looking for ways to improve, but for now; thank you for helping us to make our 10th annual event a reality and please continue to consider those out there daily trying to make something of a life in the harsher world.
 
 We will be working diligently to secure our Charitable status for "Open Minds Respect Events" in advance of our 11th annual event in 2016. If you want to get involved, have an idea of how we can improve, or know an organization doing similar work that might want to unite efforts; please don't hesitate to reach out to us and get involved.
 
Thanks again, on behalf of the OMRE Board; we truly appreciate all of your support, encouragement and involvement.
Kindness matters. Stay Warm.
All the Blessed,
 
Tomy Bewick
Straight to the Streets 2015
An Open Minds Respect Events effort.
www.omre.ca
 

Regards,
 
Tomy Bewick, LEEDR AP (BD+C)
Open Minds Respect Events - Founder/ Organizer
Burlington Slam Project - Host/ Artistic Director
This is our 10th year, and our 4th year asking for financial donations.
 
This year, along with our regular Toronto locations, we are adding collection and distribution to locations in Hamilton and Halton.
 
Funding for social programming seems to get lower each year while the number of elderly men, families and youth using shelters and drop-in centers have shown steady increases in all areas.
 
For the past nine years “Straight to the Streets” has organized volunteers, collected warm clothing and distributed it directly to those living in, on, or close to the streets.
 
For the past three years we have collected financial donations in order to purchase and assemble hygiene/care kits for those we serve. In our 10th year we have started the process towards federally registered charity status, and while we are still in the midst of that process, we are not slowing down to wait. We are in stage two of becoming a Non-Profit, and our lawyer is working hard to finish the paperwork as needed.
 
We have raised nearly $13,000 in the past 3 years and handed out almost 700 kits for those in direct need.
 
This year we are planning on giving out kits in Toronto, Halton and Hamilton to those in the specific sectors in need. Each of these kits will include:
 
  • Insulated lunch bags
  •  Rain poncho
  • Chap stick
  • Toothpaste and travel toothbrush
  • First Aid
  • Emergency blanket
  • Warm gloves
  • Socks
  • Plastic cutlery
  • Toques
  • Mental health and addiction resource card
  • Wipes/moist toilette
 
We also have plans to add feminine hygiene products, underwear and extra socks to this list, as there were considerable requests for these items in the streets and shelters last year.
 
The cost of one of these kits would be over $50 if bought at a store, but with the help of Bargains Group we can buy each kit for close to $25.
 
We would like to set a target of $10,000 for our 10th year, as we are now also asking residents in these added communities of Hamilton and Halton to contribute locally. It will take a considerable amount of product (bought wholesale and discounted) to assemble this amount of kits.
 
What we need to meet our goals:
•          We are only accepting clean, gently used clothing this year with a priority for cold weather items for men, women and children. We will accept other items to add to future warm weather clothing drives and for local clothing closets but these items are not a priority.
•          Financial Donations are needed more than ever in order to meet the new target for kits. Donations can be made via cheque, PayPal, e-transfer or contact us direct for arrangements.
•          We always need volunteers to help with sorting, kit assembly and distribution on the day of the main event; and now with two new areas being added, we need you more than ever.
•          Team Leaders to motivate their friends and family to check the closet, assemble a kit or make a donation.
•          Your help spreading the word via Social Media and by word of mouth.
•          With our changing status we welcome large donor sponsorship, starting this year. Please get in touch to set up a meeting with one of our Board Members.
•          If you're wanting to bring something else to the mix: socks are ALWAYS a huge need and prepaid cards for coffee are great.
 
We will have 3 main phases: Collection, Sorting/Assembling and Distribution – Let us know how you can get involved.
 
Thank you to all of our past supporters, volunteers and to everyone donating, or planning to come out and help us distribute.
 
Please help us spread this press release widely.
 
You can make a financial donation through our PayPal account or via email money transfer to tbewick_bsp@outlook.com
 
Clothing or kit donations can be picked up in advance if needed.
 
If you are interested in assisting with sorting or assembling kits, or have ideas for donors or sponsors; please email tbewick_bsp@outlook.com with subject “RE: S2S”.
 
Thanks in advance for your consideration and support
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It's easy to get involved. Just email us for more information on how you can be part of this exciting initiative. 

This year's schedule will be updated as information comes in: 
  1. 1
    S2S - Clothing Sort Day
    The Burlington Slam Project 4802 Capri Cres., Burlington, Ontario L7M 0H5
    Saturday, November 21at 12:00pm - 4:00pm
  2. 2
    S2S - Winter Survival Kit Assembly Day
    This event is for the winter survival kit assembly. In the past, these kits have been made possible by items purchased with financial donations, in bulk, and include such items as : gloves, socks, soap, blankets, hats, toothbrush and toothpaste, etc.
    Saturday, December 5at 12:00pm - 4:00pm
  3. 3
    S2S Distribution Dates
    Toronto-Dec. 12 Halton-Dec. 13 Hamilton-Dec. 19
    More Information Will Be Given Closer to the Dates