The London St. Thomas Association of REALTORS® (LSTAR) is one of more than 30 real estate boards and associations across Canada participating in REALTORS Care® Week 2020 and supporting local homelessness-related organizations on behalf of their members this year.
As part of REALTORS Care® Week, LSTAR has given a $1,000 sponsorship to Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU) and purchased a table of 10 for their 15th Annual Breakfast for YOU fundraiser, which will be taking place virtually in February 2021. LSTAR is a long-time supporter of YOU, which is a registered charity that helps local youth reach their potential and plays a key role in homelessness prevention. They offer a wide range of services, including health and dental care, housing, education, workshops, job search and on-the-job skills training.
During the Canadian Real Estate Association’s REALTORS Care® Week 2020 Virtual Conference on Homelessness, Costa Poulopoulos, Chair of CREA’s Board of Directors and a Past President of LSTAR, made a surprise announcement that he was inspired by the conference to donate $2,500 personally and an additional $2,500 via his brokerage, StreetCity Realty, to help those experiencing homelessness in his community. These funds will be donated to Kindness Above Everything, a local REALTOR®-led charity with a mission to improve the lives of impoverished families in the London area.
“My definition of kindness is believing you can always do more,” explains Mary Johnson, LSTAR member and Founder of Kindness Above Everything. “Kindness Above Everything helps the people in our community that have fallen through the cracks. This $5,000 donation will help us give boots and survival kits—filled with flashlights, foot warmers, wood matches, protein bars and shakes, and other much-needed items—to an additional 200 people experiencing homelessness in the London area this winter.”
On November 6, 2020, LSTAR hosted a virtual Suitcase Party in lieu of their usual in-person Christmas Gala due to COVID-19 safety concerns. The 2020 LSTAR Gala Committee sold tickets for a chance to win one of three exciting getaways plus two early bird prizes. With this event, LSTAR raised more than $15,000 for the Merrymount Family Support and Crisis Centre, the Unity Project for Relief of Homelessness in London, and Violence Against Women, Services Elgin County.
Earlier in the year, LSTAR raised $4,700 for the London and Area Food Bank with their Virtual Slo-Pitch fundraiser and presented four local students with $1,500 scholarships for their post-secondary education.
“Overall, we have had a very successful few months and many of our members have stepped up to take part in supporting our community,” shares Claire Dawson, LSTAR’s Manager of Special Projects. “We were able to continue on with all of our annual events after making adjustments to make them all virtual.”
And they aren’t done yet! For the remainder of the year, LSTAR is looking forward to holding their Children’s Santa Surprise event in support of Investing in Children and their Annual REALTOR® Christmas Kettle Day in support of the Salvation Army, as well as participating in the Business Care Food Drive in support of the London and Area Food Bank.