Our hearts are sometimes bigger than the means we have to support our vulnerable neighbours. We know we want to support Edmontonians that are struggling with poverty and homelessness, but often feel at a loss of what we can do with limited time and resources. The short answer is – you're better equipped to support Boyle Street’s mission of ending chronic homelessness than you realize.
Year in and year out, we have every day Edmontonians organizing fundraisers to help raise money or in-kind (material) donations for our clients at Boyle Street Community Services. It can be simple, like a hobby you’re already doing, or a little grander, like an organized effort to gather essential items from friends and family. This month we’re highlighting three fundraising efforts that have gone a long way toward helping out our clients and community members. Maybe you’ll find inspiration do to something of your own?
Our first highlight comes from our long-time partnership with the Edmonton Islamic Academy. For seven years, students have donated artwork, served lunch, and collected winter clothing like gloves, hats, and socks. This year, grade four students and teachers choose the theme “Giving Gratitude,” with the focus of appreciating what they already have and being grateful for everything. “At Edmonton Islamic Academy, our mission is to offer a high-quality education embedded in Islamic values so students can become respectful, responsible, and successful leaders and contributors to society,” said teacher Benjamin Gee.
“Teaching students to be kind and compassionate is fundamental in becoming responsible citizens. We want our students to practice and demonstrate what kindness means.”
Collecting boxes of food as well as several large bags with hundreds of winter socks, mittens, and hats. They created hampers to hand out as well as created artwork using the theme “Messages of Hope” that were sent to agencies that provide front-line services. “The support and learning from the students and parents have been tremendous,”
Benjamin said. “We are stronger when we are together. Throughout the project, students practiced compassion, communication, and cooperation.”
“Giving Gratitude has been an invaluable project in promoting global citizenship. The project has brought us closer together as an organization. Helping others is fundamental in Islam. We want our students to let their faith guide their actions.”
Lot 34 has proven instrumental in many ways during our relationship with them. You might remember when they renovated and redesigned our emergency donation room, giving our space a more functional upgrade. “Tyler Day (Co-owner and project lead and co-designer on design and build projects) was first introduced to Boyle Street Community Services by way of Darren at Arcadia,” said Lindsay Jones, co-owner and vintage and home goods curator and co-designer on design and build projects.
“I was introduced to Boyle Street Community Services by way of my mother who had brought me in as a volunteer when I was a child,” Lindsay continues, “and when Tyler and I decided to build this business together, we wanted to give back to our community at the same time. We both thought of Boyle Street as a place we each saw as an integral organization in this city.”
This year, they decided that a sock fundraiser would be the way to go when it came to helping out. They settled on the idea after a conversation with the Development Team Lead Kass Green, who let them know how winter can be trouble for clients of Boyle Street. Tyler said “Kass told us that oftentimes the donations of warmer layers run out before the winter's end. So, we decided to focus our efforts on bringing in an integral piece of clothing that was being identified as a major need.”
Talking about their work with us, Tyler and Lindsay both said “Our staff members are thrilled to be partnering with Boyle Street. It gives the work we all do even greater purpose.”
Tyler Day and Lindsay Jones, Co-owners of Lot 34
Next up is Melinda, someone who is a new Boyle Street supporter. While she never knew just what Boyle Street did, she said “I was aware of the organization and believed they were doing good work.” Living on the North side of Edmonton and traveling through the city, Melinda would often see the need the people had and wish she could do something about it. Realizing that she didn’t know much about what Boyle Street does, she decided to do some research and took a look at our website. “I think my jaw actually dropped when I saw all the good work being done. The listing of services provided through the Community Centre alone shocked me - in an entirely wonderful way!” She decided she would donate cosmetic bags filled with helpful toiletry items.
“The idea came from opening my linen closet every day and sighing every time I saw my pile of new, unused, cosmetic bags,” Melinda said. “I thought it may be nice to donate them, filled with toiletries, to a group in need. And the first group I thought of was Boyle Street.” Every bag has toothpaste, a toothbrush, antiperspirant, lip chap, lotion, tissue, and a comb.
She went on to say, “it feels amazing so far, working with Boyle Street! I would say to anybody just to trust that little voice that says ‘Maybe I should...’ because you probably can.”
What will you do?
You can host your own fundraiser – maybe you’ve got an uncanny knack to organize people and materials, or you’ve got some antiques to raffle off. Or maybe you’re knee deep in a hobby that you can share with or teach others for a donation. No matter what skills or passions you have, out development team is here to help make your self-led fundraiser a fun and successful endeavor – reach out today: firstname.lastname@example.org