Grassroots initiative helping to keep Edmonton’s homeless warm during winter

Click to play video: 'Edmonton winter clothing drive for homeless' Edmonton winter clothing drive for homeless
WATCH ABOVE: Bundleupyeg is making a difference in helping to keep Edmonton's homeless warm during the winter months. Slav Kornik explains what the initiative is all about – Nov 22, 2018

What started as a small project led by an Edmonton woman has become a continually growing initiative that’s making a notable dent in providing Edmonton’s less fortunate with warm winter clothing.

Now in its sixth year, Bundleupyeg has hopes for this season: the goal is to collect 1,300 bags of warm clothing in 31 days, and so far that goal appears to be attainable.

“We’re five days in — we just launched on Saturday — and we just broke 100 [bags], so it’s going really really well,” Bundleupyeg founder Jasmine Topham said on Thursday.

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Topham started the initiative six years ago with the help of a few family members and friends. During first year, the group collected 40 bags of winter clothing.

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Bundleupyeg has grown every season. This year, 20 volunteers are helping to collect and drop off clothing, and many organizations and companies are chipping in. Centennial Storage has provided a unit to store the donated clothes and all of its locations are serving as drop off centres.

“All of this is happening because of support from community and because Edmontonians care and have generous hearts and so does the businesses and organizations that surround us,” Topham said.

Sick Productions has created donation boxes for free and Bundleupyeg has received free gas cards to help cover the cost for volunteers who drive around the city collecting and dropping off the clothing.

“We’re not a registered non-profit organization. We don’t take financial donations and we don’t get grant money. So this is really run on all of our time. Almost all of us work full time. We do this on evenings, on weekends,” Topham said.

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If donations can’t be dropped off at one of the 24 locations around Edmonton, volunteers will drive to pick them up. Topham said the goal is to make helping the city’s less fortunate as easy as possible.

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“Our goal is to help remove the barrier that exists when donating clothes to Edmonton’s vulnerable people in need. So we will come to you to pick up your donations right to your doorstep for free or you can take your clothing to one of our drop off locations,” she said.

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Drop off locations are listed on the Bundleupyeg website.

The initiative runs until Dec. 17.

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