This holiday season, homeless youth will receive a backpack full of gifts at our annual youth Christmas party. Please help us give them the Christmas they deserve!
Ways to donate to the Covenant House Vancouver Christmas Backpack Campaign:
1. Contribute to our costs
It costs $150 to fill a backpack with gifts. Help us purchase one whole backpack for a youth in need. Contribute this amount here.
2. Include us in your holiday shopping
Take the backpack inventory list with you on your holiday shopping trips! Feel free to contribute any or all of the items on our list.
3. Purchase a completed backpack through Army & Navy
Order the items online through our partnership with Army & Navy and have them shipped directly to us.
Last night, 49 local executives, community leaders and celebrities slept outside in solidarity with the hundreds of young people who call Vancouver’s streets home, to raise funds for Covenant House Vancouver’s Crisis Program.
Bob Lenarduzzi (President, Vancouver Whitecaps) slept out for the 5th time and was joined by Vikram Vij (Vij’s Restaurant), ABC’s The Bachelorette’s Kaitlyn Bristowe, and they were joined by 46+ other sleepers who at last count had raised over $615,370.00!
The lead fundraisers were Chef Matt Stowe and Ryan Moreno, CEO, both of the Joseph Richard Group. Matt Stowe said “I have worked with Covenant House for a couple years now and the job they do is amazing. The support they offer to the youth not only in helping them get off the street but giving them the guidance and direction so when they leave they have the necessary foundation to succeed in life is very inspiring. Ryan Moreno added that “Covenant House, solely focused on helping our youth, should be celebrated and supported whenever and wherever possible. I was overwhelmed and every so proud of the resounding support we received and the continued contributions coming in.”
The evening began with the participants getting to know each other and touring our female Crisis Program and Drop-In Centre. A youth panel consisting of three current Covenant House youth shared their stories and the circumstances that led to their homelessness. One youth recalled living in his car and described the feeling of terror he felt each night hoping that no one would break in and harm him. Another young person recalled the profound loneliness he experienced as a homeless youth and how a kind look or smile from a stranger often made all the difference to him.
After waking up this morning (many didn’t get much sleep), the participants took part in a group reflection exercise, describing what the experience meant to them. The Sleepers acknowledged that sleeping outside for one night does not compare to what it is really like for youth who must do so night after night, some while holding down a job and going to school. The Sleepers did however, get a glimpse into experiencing the cold, feeling exposed and vulnerable out in the open.
Big thank you to all our Sleepers and their supporters! There is still time to support the Sleep Out: Executive Edition. Click here to donate to the event or to a specific sleeper.
Tonight executives, public figures and well-connected leaders in our community will sleep outside for one night in solidarity with those youth who may face many more cold, lonely nights until they find their way through the doors of Covenant House Vancouver.
From Anchorage to New York, Vancouver to Toronto and in other major cities across North America, participants will raise funds from their companies, colleagues, friends and family to support the life-changing work that is being done to help young people leave the streets and begin new lives. They wield their influence to raise awareness and critical funds for the poorest and most vulnerable among us.
To view and support our Vancouver participants or the event click here.
Be sure to join in the discussion on social media using the hash tag #CHSleepOut. Participants in many different cities across North America will be live tweeting, Facebooking and instagramming about their firsthand experience sleeping outside. You can follow Covenant House Vancouver on Twitter @CovenantHouseBC, on Instagram @covenanthousebc or on our Facebook page.
Thanks to all our “Sleepers” and their supporters!
When Bronwyn came to us she had lost most of her family over the years and knew only her Dad in the past five years. Recently, Bronwyn’s father had passed away. Bronwyn told us that this personal tragedy lead her to spiral into addiction and involvement with the sex trade. One day, Bronwyn decided that she had been through enough and that she wanted a change. She bought a Greyhound ticket and bussed to Vancouver. When she arrived she came right to Covenant House Vancouver.
Bronwyn clearly had a lot of courage to walk away from the life she was caught up in. Staying with us, Bronwyn told me that this was the longest time she has ever been sober and it was making her think a lot. In the past, when overwhelmed with feelings she would use drugs to cope.
One afternoon, Bronwyn asked to speak to me privately. At first she seemed very angry and was talking about how frustrated she was that she was homeless and that housing she applied to was full. She was not making eye contact with me and I could tell there was something more going on. I asked if she wanted to talk about anything else. Bronwyn was silent for a moment and then I saw tears well up in her eyes and fall onto her shirt. She told me she wasn’t used to having this many feelings and that she felt very low. She talked about how much she missed her Dad and that she felt that she has absolutely no one that cares about her now. I reminded Bronwyn that Covenant House cares about her and we want to see her succeed and build a new life. I told her it must have taken a lot for her to come and talk to me. We talked about healthy ways to deal with stress like going for walks, or listening to music. Bronwyn told me she actually felt a lot better after she cried.
Later that afternoon, I walked into the common space to find Bronwyn sitting at one of our computers with headphones on. She was logged into YouTube and was listening to music and singing at the top of her lungs. She caught me smiling and asked, “Am I being too loud?” I shook my head no. Seeing her smile in that moment, I knew that good things were on the horizon for Bronwyn.