Homelessness in Canada
According to the 2016 State of Homelessness in Canada report:
How Your Support Makes a Difference!
For more than a decade, Baby it’s Cold Outside has organized clothing drives during winter and spring, advertising and soliciting donations for clothes, towels, and linens from generous Albertans.
These donations have been distributed to Southern Alberta's homeless population and others in need of a hand up through established homeless shelters such as the Mustard Seed and the Calgary Drop-In Centre, as well as smaller operations including women's shelters and pregnancy centres throughout communities of all sizes in Southern Alberta.
By donating your gently-used and new clothing items, or allowing us to leave a clothing donation basket in your store, you've helped to relieve the growing pressure of homelessness in our province!
In response to the rise in homelessness across Alberta, Baby it's Cold Outside has increased its efforts to help supply Alberta’s shelters with much-needed essentials to support the growing demand for basic necessities.
Baby it's Cold Outside has expanded from a one-city annual clothing drive into an ongoing province-wide charity drive that collects basic necessities, including clothing, toiletries and more.
During our Essentials Drives, we connect with community partners to collect toiletries including toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, conditioner, feminine hygiene products, condoms, razors, deodorant, lip balm, lotion, and any other toiletries.
Donation of new essential items—especially hotel-sized travel items—is always hugely appreciated for these drives!
We even organize events in cooperation with our fabulous partner Windy Point Soap where individuals can sign up to come help us make some of these essentials by hand!
Once collected (or handmade), the essentials are sorted and packaged by our wonderful volunteers into convenient toiletry packs and delivered to shelters throughout southern Alberta!
One of our most exciting and well-known events is our Christmas Feast. Stemming from funds collected during any of our fundraising events throughout the year, as well as direct contributions from community partners wishing to spread some holiday cheer and even "anonymous angel" donations from individuals, we are able to provide Christmas dinners for nominated families in the Foothills area who are in need of a hand up during the Christmas season.
Families in need are nominated by members of their community through private message on our facebook page. Donations are collected from anyone willing to contribute, and the families are contacted to determine a menu tailored specially to their family. On or around Christmas Eve all the ingredients for a Christmas feast are delivered to the family so that they can make Christmas dinner together and feel the warmth of the season along with the support of their community.
- In 2017, BCO served 11 Foothills families, totaling 84 individuals, 26 of whom were children under the age of 13.
- Our Christmas Feast for 2018 served 27 families, feeding 128 people, including 56 children! Thanks to the incredibly generous donations in 2018, every child had a present under the tree.
- This generosity built in 2019, where we served 31 families, with a grand total of 139 individuals, which includes 68 children. In 2019 we had 29 volunteers, and every child had presents under their trees!
Community Liaison Role and Raising Awareness
Through these charity drives, we've been able to build greater awareness regarding homelessness throughout the province. What started as a small clothing drive more than a decade ago has grown into a huge success with a variety of donations coming in from across Alberta!
We are not only the force behind clothing and food drives, we also play the Liaison role of bringing together the right alliance partners to extend a strong hand up to those in need.
Thank you for your kindness.
- Team BCO
HeadStrong - Mental Health Initiative
As part of our continuing goal to prevent homelessness, Baby It's Cold Outside is excited to announce the HeadStrong program - an initiative to provide much needed mental health services to business owners right here in Foothills County. Created as a direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in partnership with Wellness Innovate & the Government of Alberta, BCO is proud to be able to bring important services and programs to our community.
BCO Founder Pamela Morgan adds “The HeadStrong program will start here at home in the Foothills, with the partnership and mentorship of Wellness Innovate and other local partners, we will have the opportunity to change the narrative that surrounds mental health, remove the archaic stigma and help many business leaders and their families take healthy steps forward.”
Baby, It’s Cold Outside is looking forward to creating a life-changing program alongside Wellness Innovate, and is grateful to Highwood MLA RJ Sigurdson & Associate Minister for Mental Health and Addictions, Hon. Jason Luan for the support.
Stay tuned to our Facebook page for more info on this program.
Where We're Going—Transitional Housing
While it's important to keep working hard on the front lines to ensure people are clothed, warm, and have the essentials they need when experiencing homelessness, we know that's a short-term solution to what is, for some, a long-term problem. Ultimately, people need homes—somewhere safe at the end of the day that they can call their own. They need a community, where they can find and give support.
It's our communities, after all, that lift us up when we're down. We want to be part of that long-term solution of transitional housing to help those in need of a hand up with an extra boost when they're really trying hard to get their footing. That's why transitional housing is part of our long-term goals as a charitable organization, and why a portion of our donations are reserved for this lofty goal of ours.
Some day, we hope to not only hand someone a Christmas dinner or some warm clothes or a bag of toiletries, but a set of keys to a place they can call home.
A Note from BCO Founder and President
The story behind the passion…
My brother was homeless for the majority of his adult life until he passed. At the age of 15, he started down a lonely path to which there was a sad end. He came from a happy home with loving parents and siblings. We were a middle-class, average family. Is this an exception to what we think, when we think of the homeless? Maybe, maybe not. I don't believe there is a type—only a stereotype we buy into to make ourselves feel better. Homelessness can affect anyone and everyone at any time. It doesn't discriminate. Life sometimes can take us down less travelled roads, sometimes for the good lessons and sometimes for the unfortunate ones.
I have always held the homeless close to my heart and in my thoughts. I cannot bear to walk by and not acknowledge their plight, and it is my heartfelt belief that I am but one of many individuals willing and able to lend a helping hand to others when they find themselves in need.
My dream-wish-desire-longing is that not one soul would ever be without food and shelter, but until that day arrives I will continue my crusade to clothe and aid as many people in need as possible, and I hope that you will find yourself inspired to join us at Baby It’s Cold Outside in this endeavor to make a positive difference as a community by bringing a little bit more warmth to the cold streets. I know that together we can and do make a difference!
~ Pamela Morgan
~ Pamela Morgan