By Kalinowski, Tim on January 18, 2020.
With temperatures hovering near the -30 C mark on Friday, Children of St. Martha School students took time out of their day to come together to help those less fortunate in the city by taking part in the second annual Blankets of Hope campaign.
The school distributed 288 blankets to the city’s homeless this year with the help of Streets Alive Mission – up from the 200 distributed last year. And, of course, each blanket came with a heartfelt note of encouragement from the students to those receiving the gift.
“Last year it was mild,” said Laurie McIntosh, a kindergarten teacher with Children of St. Martha who spearheads the campaign. “We went out in our hoodies and sneakers when we distributed them, but this takes on a whole new meaning this year; especially because Streets Alive is here and can take them out today on a day that is -30 C outside. We only received the blankets on Monday; the plan was not to do this today. But we quickly pulled together as a school and said, ‘No, the need is too high right now.'”
Streets Alive employee Trevor Graham came to the school to pick up the blankets for distribution.
“The cold weather is a challenge, and it is difficult to find warm spaces in this kind of weather,” said Graham. “We do have the shelter, but you can only fit so many people in there at a time. There is still a lot of people trekking around out there, and a lot of them have nowhere else to go outside of the shelter and stopping in at various organizations to get some help and stay warm a little bit. They just got to keep moving throughout the day. They are so grateful to have warm blankets this time of year to wrap themselves or walk around or sleep in if necessary.”
The beautiful accompanying note from the children also hits home with many of his clients, said Graham.
“A little bit of encouragement, a little bit of love, makes such a difference in a day,” he confirmed.
That was certainly Grade 5 student Mary McBeath’s hope when she finished her note and tied it to one of the blankets.
“My note is kind of like saying how you should be yourself and live your life the way you want to. And don’t listen to what people say about you because it doesn’t matter. I hope, even though they are not in the best situation, they should still be happy and experience the joys of life,” she said.
For more information on the Blankets of Hope campaign visit blanketsofhope.com
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