Today—Monday, November 18, 2019—marked the beginning of the inaugural national REALTORS Care® Week as well as the official kick-off of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, Fraser Valley Real Estate Board, and Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board’s 25th Annual REALTORS Care® Blanket Drive.
If you visit a real estate office in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia this week, chances are you will notice piles of bagged donations—blankets, sleeping bags, warm winter clothing, new socks and underwear, and other helpful items—that REALTORS® have collected for those most in need. In fact, more than 100 real estate offices across the region are participating as Blanket Drive donation drop-off locations this year. Later this month, REALTOR® volunteers will sort all the donations they’ve collected and deliver them to charities and organizations in the same areas in which they were collected wherever possible.
Since the REALTORS Care® Blanket Drive’s inception in 1994, participating REALTORS® have shared the comfort of home with more than 385,000 people experiencing homelessness and poverty in their communities.
Laura-Leah Shaw of RE/MAX Crest Realty in Vancouver—a long-time Blanket Drive volunteer and Canadian REALTORS Care® Award 2017 recipient—meets the 25th anniversary with “mixed emotions”: “It’s sad that we need to [keep going]. Poverty and homelessness and not having a place to belong have become so commonplace. The poor are invisible to many people. But [I am] gratified that we can do a service and help people.”
The Blanket Drive’s REALTOR® volunteers are sincerely passionate about the cause. They report that the program opened their eyes to the harsh realities faced by fellow members of their communities and the valuable services provided by the Drive’s partner charities. It also gets them thinking about what more can be done. “There’s so much need in the community. What else can we do?” says Edie Takahashi of Sutton Group West Coast Realty in Surrey. “It opens different doors of opportunities.”
To make it even more of a win-win situation, the REALTORS Care® Blanket Drive is a great networking and bonding experience for its participants. “I’m seeing the difference in my office,” says first-time volunteer Raj Gill of Royal LePage Global Force Realty in Surrey. “I’m seeing engagement … and I think it’s amazing.”
To learn more about the REALTORS Care® Blanket Drive, please visit www.blanketdrive.ca.