Andy Holt is a patient man. As a long-suffering fan of Detroit’s sports teams, he’s had practice. But in 2017, when he heard that Boyle’s winter warming bus was going to be shuttered due to lack of funds, he immediately took action.
“The winter warming bus is an ideal piece of human kindness,” he says. “When I heard it was going to be shut down, I thought ‘This is terrible. People are going to die. I need to do something about this.’”
Andy sent out a tweet that night, pledging that his company, A-Squared Communications, was donating $1000 toward a fund for the winter warming bus and challenging other Edmonton businesses to do the same. When he woke up the next morning, his phone was buzzing.
“My tweet had gone viral. I did an interview with CBC,” Andy recalls. “People were sending me money to bring down to Boyle Street.”
Within a week, the winter warming bus program was funded, and continues to operate to this day. On his own initiative, Andy launched the first matching campaign at Boyle Street. This is how Andy’s long-term relationship began with Boyle Street. And he has continued to tirelessly advocate for our community, donating the video production services of his company for fundraising efforts, awareness, and wherever else he can to help. He is particularly proud of the recent Managed Alcohol Program documentary he produced with us.
This video describing our Managed Alcohol Program is just one example of A-Squared Communication’s productions for Boyle Street.
“I have a passion for what I do, for video production,” he says. “I have loved every day, and I wouldn’t change a thing. Working with Boyle Street amplifies that passion … I can help improve people’s lives through video.” He continues:
“I like the philosophy of Boyle Street. They serve not only the homeless or people with addiction, but [they] provide a vast array of services: helping to navigate the challenges of pregnancy, helping those with homes but below the poverty line, and so on.”
Andy has an emotional connection to Boyle Street, seeing how Boyle has made a difference and how his work has assisted us. “Having met everyone, seeing how they work: from Street Outreach to upper management, there is a wealth of talent and compassion.”
If you spend even five minutes with Andy, it becomes clear he is driven by compassion. The results of his work - helping people - are their own reward. And Andy has been helping people his entire life, long before connecting with Boyle Street. For example, he first discovered the winter warming bus because he and his wife were handing out chili and coffee on the street. They made friends with Wayne, the warming bus driver, which is how he found out it was going to be shut down.
Andy urges people to volunteer where they can and to bring their families, especially their kids. “We’re all human,” he says. “Some simply have less money than others … If there’s more compassion there would be less homelessness.”
At Boyle Street, our mission is to end chronic homelessness and our vision is to see that all people grow healthier through involvement in strong, accepting, and respectful communities. We are extremely thankful for people such as Andy Holt, who give so much of their time and talent to make this vision a reality for everyone.
You can check out more of Andy’s incredible work through his website.