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:
Luciano Ciampa of Blue Tec Construction
Kam Assi of BLVD Construction
Doug Fregin of Infinite Potential Group
IRA McDonald Construction
David Pearce of Pearce McCluskey Architects
Romeo & Tina of Dixon Drywall
Leigh & Bob Harford
Teresa Seaton of Teresa Seaton Studio & Gallery
Helle Brodie of Brodie & Associates Landscape Architects
Jeff Dickson of Jade Logic
Akita and Friends
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,
Straight to the Streets 2015
An Open Minds Respect Events effort.
Tomy Bewick, LEEDR AP (BD+C)
Open Minds Respect Events - Founder/ Organizer
Burlington Slam Project - Host/ Artistic Director