Lotus Light’s 2017 Winter Charity Drive Event Increasing Numbers of DTES Homeless

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Lotus Light’s 2017 Winter Charity Drive Event
Increasing Numbers of DTES Homeless

The Lotus Light Charity held its annual distribution event on Saturday, December 16th on Hastings and Dunlevy. This year, over 40,000 items including new sleeping bags, winter garments, personal hygiene products, toys and clothing valued over $100,000 were donated and distributed to community partners directly to the street homeless, as well as to various homeless shelters and social service agencies throughout the Lower Mainland.

Increasing Numbers of Homeless: This year’s event saw more homeless recipients lining up to receive the gifts than in the previous 7 years since the Lotus Light Charity Society Vancouver chapter initiated its annual Winter Charity Drive event. For the past few years, B.C.’s housing crisis has exploded as a major concern. Metro Vancouver’s unaffordable rents, rising living costs and low wages are putting many people on the verge of homelessness – noticeably, our poorest and most vulnerable people including low-income seniors are hit the hardest.

Lotus Light’s Partnerships with Emergency First Responders: Since 2010, Lotus Light’s community partners, the Vancouver Police Department’s homelessness outreach unit and the B.C. Emergency Health Services paramedics team have been the strongest supporters of the Lotus Light Charity’s mission to distribute gifts of survival essentials to the downtown eastside’s homeless throughout the cold winter months. “There have been literally thousands of success stories throughout the years where these sleeping bags and emergency care packages have saved lives,” said Chief Paramedic Marilyn Oberg who spoke at this Saturday’s distribution event. Chief Paramedic Oberg has over 30 years of experience with the BC Ambulance Service and is responsible for the Vancouver Unit of paramedics at the busy ambulance dispatch near Vancouver General Hospital. For the past few years, Vancouver’s police and paramedic teams have been responding to the fentanyl overdose crisis that is showing no signs of ending.

Bringing Christmas Toys for Inner City Kids: This weekend, Lotus Light volunteers brought some Christmas joy to 2 inner city schools in East Vancouver (Grandview and Britannia Elementary) and SOS Village in Surrey, distributing new toys to children and at-risk youth. Many of these kids come from homes where parents are struggling financially, and difficult choices are made each month, like paying rent or buying groceries. According to a community coordinator from Britannia Elementary, more and more families are now requesting for help with household essentials such as toilet paper, paper towels and laundry detergent (beyond just groceries), which reveals the stress and chronic poverty that exists for low-income families in our local communities. Their needs extend beyond Christmas time, and even household essentials are desperately needed.

We welcome your generous support and donations throughout the year to bring hope to those struggling for a brighter future in our local community.

Lotus Light Charity Society aims to promote a stronger community from its motto “through caring and learning, we help to build a better tomorrow.” We rely on financial and in-kind donations from individuals and corporate sponsors to support our multi-faceted initiatives, services, and programs (social assistance, education, and cultural awareness).

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