By Jasmine Topham, founder of #bundleupyeg
That’s a wrap on #bundleupyeg 2017 folks! What an amazing whirlwind it has been as we experienced an unprecedented, record-breaking year!
Before we get into the numbers, I just want to thank you all for your love, kindness and support of #bundleupyeg. You have undoubtedly given us the most heart-warming, memorable, record-breaking season to date since we started operating in 2013. We love and appreciate all of you who have helped us succeed this year in bringing warm clothing to those in need in our community. And with that, let’s get into some numbers!
By the numbers: #bundleupyeg 2017
In just 48 days, our team of 14 volunteers collected and delivered 1,280 bags of warm winter clothing to Edmonton homeless shelters and support organizations!
We made 220 trips to pick up clothing, 61 deliveries to local shelters and spent hundreds of hours in our vehicles getting clothes to shelters in need. If we average about 10 items per bag, that means we delivered 12,800 pieces of clothing to Hope Mission, Bissell Centre, Boyle Street and Mustard Seed (Edmonton chapter) between November 1 and December 18, 2017.
This is exponential growth for #bundleupyeg! Our second highest collection year occurred in 2016 when we brought in 510 bags in two months – we more than doubled that number this year!
In fact, in the past seven weeks we have collected and delivered more bags of clothing than the last four years of #bundleupyeg combined.
We are so blown away! As volunteers who work full-time and do not receive funding for this project, our hearts are overflowing with love from the support and generosity you’ve all given us these past few weeks. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.
Congratulations to all of you who donated for this outstanding achievement and soaring success. Without you, we could not do this work. Thank you for supporting us, taking time to gather donations and trusting us to deliver them to those in need. We are so grateful for you and our ability to do this.
Firsts for this year:
This year we also experienced a large number of firsts including expanding our team for the first time from four people to 14 volunteers; collecting 400 bags in just 14 days; opening a Twitter account and delivering to all four major shelters in the same day (multiple times).
Words from Edmonton homeless shelters
Our wonderful local homeless shelters have shared a few words about the impact your donations and #bundleupyeg have had on their community members this winter.
You can read their comments here.
It takes a village to operate #bundleupyeg. From volunteer hours and extra vehicles to pre-cooked meals and graphic design services, every piece of support helps pull this project together. Here are a few of the outstanding people who contributed to this year’s campaign:
- #bundlebuddies – As mentioned, for the first time ever, we had a full team of volunteers working on #bundleupyeg this year. This meant more hands, more vehicles and more capacity to collect and deliver clothing.These incredible folks are our close friends and family and they dedicated countless hours of their time to the campaign. Bill, Maria, Amber, Matt C, Jill, Sarah, Cody, Matt T, Courtney, Grace, Danielle and Steve: thank you. Thank you for dedicating your spare time and your vehicles to #bundleupyeg over the past seven weeks. This year’s campaign would not have achieved what it did without your help!
- Collection box hosts – The following establishments opened up their hearts and space to us in becoming a public drop off location for the entire seven weeks of #bundleupyeg: 102.3 Now! Radio (fourth year partners), Local Public Eatery South Common (first year partners), Kingsway Mall (third year partners), Print Machine (first year partners), Nook Cafe (first year partners) and Cafe Rista (first year partners). Thank you for allowing clothing in need in your space and for supporting us over these past seven weeks. We are so grateful for you all!
- Unite Here! Local 47 and the Unite Here! Local 47 Benevolent Society – These generous folks donated more than $1,000 in gas cards to our campaign. They filled our gas tanks and helped fuel our ability to travel across Edmonton, and surrounding regions, to collect and deliver donations. As #bundleupyeg is not a registered charity and we do not receive funding to operate the campaign, gas is always our largest expense that of course comes out of Ryan and I’s pockets. These gas cards allowed us and our team to operate a full capacity for seven weeks to fulfill the demand and need. Thank you so much for supporting us in such a large way this year. We could never thank you enough!
- U-Haul – Big thanks to U-Haul for donating one of their vehicles to us to use in the final days of #bundleupyeg. Having a larger vehicle with more capacity to transport donations meant less trips back and forth and more efficiency in our delivery system. On Monday, December 18 alone, we transported almost 150 bags and four collection boxes in the U-Haul! Thank you U-Haul!
- Companies and organizations who ran their own #bundleupyeg clothing drives: (Including but not limited to) RAAS market in West Edmonton Mall, Capital GMC Buick, Grant MacEwan University, Edmonton Public Library, Refinery Clothing, Kelly’s Closet, Twisted Baubles, Riverbend swap group, Univar, Heart Print Threads, Horizon North Logistics, Johanson-Witt Professional Chartered Accountants, Alberta Education, TD Insurance, White Knight Construction, Alberta Blue Cross, SNS Productions, Grant MacEwan Theatre Arts Program students, Mina Consignments, Above and Beyond Promotions, Heritage Valley Estates Apartments, GEARS Board of Directors, Jacobs Industrial Services, Central McDougal Parents group, Rupertsland Institute, Ulterra, Dance Theme dance studio, YMCA Morthmount School, Aradia Fitness, Love Letters 2 Strangers, Alberta Education and University of Alberta.
- To everyone who donated, collected and ran drives on our behalf, thank you. Thanks for your time and efforts to pull this together and organize a drive on behalf of your colleagues. We appreciate all of the hard work you put in to bring in donations!
- Code Word Media Design – Big thanks to Kasia Gawlak of Code Word Media Design for pulling together our year-end graphic. Kasia is the creative genius behind our #bundleupyeg logo developed in 2014. We are so grateful for her time, talent, professionalism, design skills and friendship. Thank you, Kasia!
- Edmonton homeless shelter staff – To the wonderful staff at our local homeless shelters and support organizations: thank you! Thanks for your tireless efforts year-round to keep people in need safe. Brent, Devin, Genni, Darren, Alyssa and Erin: we truly value working with you each year to make sure these donations get into your facilities and out to those in need. Thank you for always being so accommodating. We value our partnership with you!
- Grandma Soka’s Cooking – I wasn’t kidding when I said every little piece of help counts. This year, my grandmother supported us through cooking monstrous amounts of her delicious food to tide us over during the busy weeks of #bundleupyeg. Often we would come home from work and be tied up the rest of the evening with pickups or other #bundleupyeg work. Grandma’s meals helped keep our bellies full and our energy up so we could keep going.
- My husband, Ryan – Last but certainly not least, I’d like to especially thank my husband Ryan. I have been working on this year’s #bundleupyeg campaign since September. Ryan has been beside me every step of the way working through major decisions, helping plan the campaign and lending a hand in everything else that falls to the wayside during the seven weeks we operate #bundleup. Not only does he support me in every decision I make, but he is by my side encouraging me along the way and joining me for every pickup. Thanks for everything my love. You are an incredible husband.
To every single person who donated whether it was big or small — thank you. Each and every one of you contributed to our total count of 1,280 bags and helped make a difference
Thank you all for such an incredible campaign this year. It has been unforgettable and has filled up our hearts with so much love. We can’t wait to see you again in 2018. In the meantime, please continue to spread love, and in the words of Ellen, be kind to one another.