Victoria Cool Aid Society | Jim Wight, Author at Victoria Cool Aid Society

Urban Barn “Blanket the Country in Warmth” Campaign

Urban Barn Shares Winter Warmth

urban-barn-blanketUrban Barn customers have come through once again with their “Blanket the Country in Warmth” campaign.

Throughout the month of November, Urban Barn at Uptown Shopping Centre invited its customers to join them for the fifth consecutive year to blanket the city in warmth. For every $5.00 donation collected by the Canadian furniture and home accent retailer, a brand-new Urban Barn fleece blanket was donated to the Victoria Cool Aid (VCA) Society to provide warmth for those seeking comfort in one of their three emergency shelters.

“Our initial goal for the year was 364 and we ended up getting close to 500” said store manager Kristy Pellew. “We got really pumped up this year; we even set up a table outside. We love doing it. This time of year can be so chaotic; it’s nice to focus on something that can actually change someone’s life.”

The donated blankets have been a welcomed gift for those seeking refuge at the VCA Society’s Rock Bay Landing emergency shelter, which provides 84 shelter beds.

“I love that the community gives back and continues to give back year after year,” says Joann Connelly of Rock Bay Landing. “People love the blankets. They are red and Christmassy and provide so much warmth.”

Cool Aid provides the blankets to those that move out of the shelter as a parting gift or to those who remain outside and need extra warmth.

The initiative ran across all Urban Barn retail locations in Canada, providing a grand total of 15,000 blankets to the cause. Cash donations were also accepted and provided to the VCA Society.

To learn more about ‘Blanket the Country in Warmth’, please visit

In Victoria, Urban Barn is located at 3450 Uptown Boulevard. To find out more, visit

Learn about the Victoria Cool Aid Society at


Shoe Box Project provides hope to Victoria women in need

shoeboxFour years ago, Linda Ferguson went to Vancouver to visit her daughter and came back with a vision that would help change the lives of several Victoria-area women in need.

“My daughter told me about the how the Shoe Box Project was providing these wonderful boxes to women in Vancouver and I thought it was an easy way to give so I became a co-ordinator here,” says Linda.

Linda took the idea to her colleagues at the Westshore Women’s Business Network and The Victoria Shoe Box Project has been steadily growing each year, providing boxes of hope to women in shelters throughout the region.

“It resonated with me,” Linda explains. “Going to a shelter is a last resort for these women. They are feeling lost and ashamed. No matter what has happened in their life, they need to feel special. This gives them a leg up and often becomes a turning point.”

The boxes are certainly filled with those things a woman would find special – gloves, a scarf, an inspirational note, books, jewellery, lipstick, movie tickets and a hair salon gift certificate. With no funds for marketing and advertising, they rely strictly on word of mouth, and word has certainly spread.

“We have over 1,000 boxes this year from our drop off locations from Sooke to Sidney and they’re still being delivered,” says Linda proudly.

Linda doesn’t ever get to see the reactions of the recipients, but always receives letters of thanks from the shelter administrators. One of those individuals is Christine O’Brien of Sandy Merriman House, Cool Aid’s women’s shelter. Each person coming to their program is gifted with one of the boxes.

“The shoeboxes are a treasured gift,” says Christine. “It’s pretty awesome when they see that the boxes are full of such wonderful items and packed so beautifully. It’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement watching someone go through everything. It means a great deal to us to be able to give people a cheery Christmas, to have wrapping paper all over the house, people laughing and smiling.”

For more about the Victoria Shoe Box Project, visit their Facebook Page.
To learn about the Victoria Cool Aid Society and the programs they support, please visit