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B.C. Realtors Care Blanket Drive pivots to online fundraising

The revamped format for this year’s Realtors Care Blanket Drive in B.C.’s Lower Mainland raised $50,000 for local housing-related charities.

The 26-year-old campaign was started by Lower Mainland Realtors to help provide much-needed supplies to housing-related charities within their communities. In a traditional year, more than 18,000 Realtors across the region would work with their clients and a network of charitable organizations to collect and distribute blankets and lightly used clothing.

Since most charities aren’t collecting these items this year due to COVID-19 safety concerns, organizers had to adapt the name and purpose of this year’s campaign. Instead, the members of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) and the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) raised funds through an online fundraising drive that ran from November 23-30.

“The pandemic has been devastating for our partner charities and the vulnerable people they help. The resources at their disposal are down and the need from the people they serve is up,” says Colette Gerber, chair, REBGV.

“The support and enthusiasm this year was amazing. Our donation page received many comments from Realtors saying that the pandemic isn’t going to stop the profession from helping the people they’ve helped for 26 years (and) the fundraiser was a great way to give back,” says Chris Shields, president, FVREB.

The program is the largest and longest running blanket drive in British Columbia. Since it began in 1995, it has helped more than 425,000 people keep warm and dry during the winter months.