As copious amounts of coffee go buzzing through our veins, the end of the busy holiday event season is suddenly in sight. The close of another season and another year feels like the perfect time to celebrate the impact that our industry can make when we come together by channeling that spirit and drive into giving back! We’ve narrowed in on two organizations that we feel strongly about and we’re issuing a friendly challenge to you – let’s see what we can do together to brighten a difficult time of year for some of Calgary’s and Vancouver’s most vulnerable residents.

Cause #1: The Calgary Drop-in and Rehab Centre
The Calgary Drop-in and Rehab Centre is an amazing organization that emphasizes a sincere respect for and focus on the people behind circumstances such as homelessness and extreme poverty. Just a quick scroll through their website will make that clear, with a look at the over 50 different programs and services offered that are designed to both meet people where they are now, and offer them the opportunities they deserve

The campaign: As kids, many of us woke up to a stocking stuffed with little toys and goodies on Christmas morning, and the Fill a Sock campaign is a take on this familiar tradition. In this case, the Drop-in is collecting socks full of basic toiletries, practical items, and simple treats to be gifted to their clients over the holiday season. Find the full wishlist of items and drop-off times here.

The challenge: Let’s see how many stockings YYC event profs can stuff, shall we? We got things kicked off at our local ILEA chapter event last Thursday, where table centrepieces were designed around stuffed socks. Those (and more!) will be headed over to the Drop-in in short order, BUT because we want to see you get involved too, we’re ready and waiting to up the ante with an additional donation – here’s how:

Stuff some socks of your own and post a photo on Instagram using the hashtag #FillaSockYYC. We’ll donate $5 to The Calgary Drop-in and Rehab Centre for every photo posted between now and December 18, up to $1000.

Get shopping, and let’s see those stockings! But first, read on for our second challenge.

Cause #2: Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre
Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre (DEWC) is a safe place in downtown Vancouver for women and children experiencing violence, homelessness, addictions, and poverty to seek refuge, shelter, and more. The Centre provides everything from hot meals to a secure mailing address for some of the city’s most vulnerable people, attempting to help create the stability and opportunities needed to improve health, family, employment, and housing situations.

The campaign: DEWC’s holiday campaign caught our attention because of how attainable it feels to help  large numbers of women and children. For a donation of $1,250, we’re able to provide a full Christmas dinner for 400 women and children. There are a number of other monetary donations from $5 – $750 that are equally impressive in how far they go (like a day’s access to a safe space, hot meal, and support services for just $5!), along with a wishlist of drop-off donation items.

The challenge: Again, we’ll be kicking things off with our $1,250 donation either way, but we’re prepared to put a little more money where our mouths are – and hopefully a little more food in the mouths of some of Vancouver’s most in-need.

While we are obviously encouraging you to make a donation of your own, we’re keeping this challenge super simple by simply asking you to help us spread some awareness. For every person who shares our Facebook post about this challenge from now until December 18, we’ll donate an additional $5, up to $1000. That’s it! 

We’re excited to see the level of impact we can have together, so please consider taking up the challenge and joining us in supporting the Calgary Drop-in and DEWC this Christmas! We’ll be watching Instagram and Facebook for your posts… on your mark, get set, GIVE!

Photo: Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre