Since 2005, the Homeless Partners Christmas Wish List program has brought thousands of gifts to the less fortunate at Christmas through www.homelesspartners.com. Volunteers across Canada from partnering organizations like Catholic and Protestant churches and the BC Muslim Association interview local homeless persons, share their stories and wish lists on the website so that people in local communities can read them and send personalized gifts and messages directly to the homeless recipients through their shelters.
Homelessness in Canada has reached a crisis level with 200,000 Canadians experiencing it annually and 30,000 being homeless on any given night. Organizations who interact daily with Canadians who are less fortunate want to change the stigmas associated with the marginalization of the homeless. Once again this year, Cool Aid is partnering up with a Canadian non-profit and self-funded organization called Homeless Partners this Christmas to bridge the gaps between the public and homeless recipients and encourage personal connection.
“We have worked locally with Homeless Partners since 2006,” said Don McTavish, Cool Aid’s manager of shelters. “Their compassion and focus on providing the right gift for each individual brings great joy and practical help into the lives of our residents at an emotionally difficult time of year for many.”
Last year, the program generated almost 1,200 pledges to homeless recipients across Canada in 7 different cities and 20 different shelters.
“When the homeless feel cared about, they have a little more strength to move forward in their lives,” said Jennie Keeran, who founded homelesspartners.com in 2005 with her husband Daniel. “There’s something powerfully bonding about sitting together, and listening to someone else’s story, that promotes trust, empathy and compassion,” said Jennie. “This project provides a safe way for the community, including people of all faiths, to use their strengths and shared value for helping those in trouble. The process supports understanding and respect between different religions while they contribute to a more compassionate community that cares about the homeless.”
Visit www.homelesspartners.com to hear personal stories or contribute a gift.