Meet Bobbie. Born in 1958 Robert Douglas Kovar (Bobbie) was what most of us would consider an average little boy. He grew up in a middle-class household in Calgary, Alberta, with two loving parents and his siblings. Life for Bobbie was GOOD. It was “normal”.
Then one morning six-year-old Bobbie went into his baby sister Susan’s room to wake her up. But Susan would not wake up, sadly she had passed away in the night from SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
Not wanting to cause their son further trauma, Bobbie’s parents decided that it was best he not attend Susan’s funeral and so they left him in the care of a trusted friend and neighbor.
The afternoon of the funeral, that neighbor sexually assaulted Bobbie. The neighbor then went on to sexually assault Bobbie and his 3yr old little brother for years to come.
Two major traumatic events in the life of a six-year-old child were devastating, and though everyone tried to carry on with life, the impacts from this time would impact Bobbie forever. Although there were moments of normalcy and glimmers of a happy little boy, the day-to-day struggle for Bobbie became harder and harder.
He didn’t “fit” in the world. And no words of love or compassion were enough to give him reassurance otherwise. He was different. He FELT different, and he did not feel like a “he”.
At the age of fifteen Bobbie was arrested for the first time and charged with solicitation, a term that his mother (during the 1960’s) could hardly comprehend.
With today’s education we would refer to Bobbie as transgender, but in the 60’s and 70’s there were other cruel names he was commonly referred to as. Unfortunately, even today when we hear those words they cut people to the quick.
And so it began … running away turned into couch surfing, which turned into sleeping in the streets. Not being able to sleep turned into addictions, too many to count and too few to ease his pain. This turned into arrests, eventually creating an endless and vicious cycle, riddled with mental illness that was un-diagnosable in the 60's and 70's eras.
Calls home were infrequent, and months would go by with his parents worrying and worrying. And then one ordinary day, the call came. It wasn’t Bobbie on the other end of the phone. It was a Montreal police officer asking, “Do you have a son by the name of Robert Kovar?”. “Yes” his mother replied, thinking he was in jail again. He wasn’t.
Bobbie had been murdered at the age of 29, in his Montreal apartment for being transgender.
The officer apologized that it had taken over 2 MONTHS to find Bobbie’s next of kin. He had no identification due to his transient lifestyle, and so he had been laid to rest in an unmarked grave in Montreal, Canada. Buried hundreds of miles away from those who love him. Those who couldn’t save him – who couldn’t save him from himself in many cases.
It was Bobbie who inspired Baby it’s Cold Outside’s (BCO’s) founder Pamela Morgan to start the charity in 2004. You see, Bobbie wasn’t just someone she read about in the news, he was her big brother.
Outside of his struggles in life, Bobbie was still an amazing person who Pamela remembers fondly for his love of cooking and his great sense of humor. His clam chowder was one of the all-time favorites of his family, and his little sister would beg and plead for him to make it when he found himself back home for a spell.
Pamela remembers, “Bobbie was funny – I mean really, REALLY funny, and he could tell a great tall tale. He looked very similar to David Bowie, and it was common for others to remark on the resemblance. Which is to say that Bobbie was STRIKINGLY attractive.”
While you may not have someone with a story exactly like Bobbie’s in your own family, odds are that you, someone in your family, or one of your close friends will be touched by sexual abuse, discrimination, addiction, homelessness, or mental health issues at some point in their lives.
Around the world June is know as PRIDE month, a time to celebrate the LBGTQ2S community, how far we have come over the years regarding acceptance and inclusion, and to acknowledge the work that is yet to be done.
At BCO we are grateful to each one of you, our followers, and supporters who allow us to continue to work in honor of Bobbie and so many others like him. We hope you will join us in celebrating diversity, acting with kindness, and giving a hand up to others in need when you can.
If Bobbie was with us today, he would be the life of the party, and celebrating right along with us!
To find out how you can support BCO or let us know how we can best support YOU, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s Time to Spring Clean Your Closets
Spring is in the air, and what a great time to go through your closets, get rid of what you don’t need and help people in the local community who would REALLY appreciate your gently used clothing!
Baby it’s Cold Outside (BCO) is running it’s Lethbridge Annual Spring Clothing Drive from April 1st -30th, 2022 and we are asking for your help supporting people in Lethbridge and surrounding area who need assistance with clothing and essential living supplies.
Spring cleaning not only makes you feel good, but those clothes you never wear or don’t need anymore can really make a difference in someone’s life.
For example, your clothing donations can:
All donations STAY local and go to two locations in Lethbridge to assist those in need at little or no cost.
What to Donate:
Gently used (laundered) clothing is appreciated, but don’t forget that new clothes offer another option for supporting the clothing drive.
Other items that are appreciated include:
BCO is grateful to Ashcroft Master Builder, Stranville Living Master Builder, Avonlea Homes, and The Collective for providing convenient drop off locations for our Annual Spring Clothing Drive.
And we can’t forget to thank YOU, the people of Lethbridge and area who have supported our clothing drive in the past. Your generous contributions are always appreciated by BCO, but more so by the people in your local community who need them.
Drop Off Locations & Hours:
1315 3rd Ave S
Drop off hours: Monday through Friday 9:00 AM-4:00 PM
Ashcroft Master Builder office (upstairs)
102 12th Street South
Weekdays excluding holidays 8:00-5:00 PM
Showhomes in Lethbridge
Drop off hours:
Monday through Thursday 2:00 PM-8:00 PM
Weekends and holidays 12:00 PM-5:00 PM
Ashcroft Master Builder
Follow us on Facebook or Instagram to stay up to date with the BCO Annual Lethbridge Spring Clothing Drive and other opportunities to support our organization.
Another Amazing Year for CNOY 2022 in Okotoks!
We want to give a HUGE shout out to everyone who participated or made a donation to support BCO and the Okotoks Food Bank in our community for CNOY 2022.
This year we raised almost $11,000 thanks to the outstanding efforts of 13 local fundraising teams and a grand total of 57 walkers! Right down to the tips of our frozen toes we are so grateful for all of their hard work and for all of the generosity you've shown us once again, Okotoks!!
Socially Distanced but United in the Spirit of Giving
This year all of our participants walked socially distanced routes through town as we near what we hope is the end of the COVID-19 pandemic in southern Alberta. We are very excited to return to the group walk format in CNOY 2023, when we can fully celebrate the community spirit that makes this annual fundraiser so important for BCO and the work we do to help local folks in need.
How to Donate
Missed the event this year? There's still plenty of time to make a donation through our official CNOY Okotoks web page!
Celebrating Five Years of Holiday Giving with BCO
2021 marks the ✨FIFTH✨ anniversary of our annual Christmas Feast, and the spirit our volunteers brought to the event this year was exceptionally merry and bright- the perfect way to celebrate such a meaningful milestone for us 🎉
2021 Christmas Feast By the Numbers
In Okotoks, we delivered feasts and presents to 4️⃣1️⃣ families, and the smiles we brought to so many happy faces as we made our way around town was without a doubt the best gift any of us could ask for this year!
In Lethbridge, we served 9️⃣ seniors, 2️⃣ families, 2️⃣ men’s shelters & 1️⃣ women’s shelter, spreading joy to folks who might otherwise spend the holidays alone. Making sure they all felt the warmth of the community support we have received this year was a feeling beyond description, brighter the star at the top of any tree💫
Thank You to All of Our Amazing Donors and Volunteers
To everyone who so generously and thoughtfully donated toys or offered financial support, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Your kindness made a huge difference in the lives of local families who needed a hand up during a year that has been challenging to say the least! We received so much help from local business and BCO community partners- the gratitude we feel goes right down to our toes.
Extra special thanks to Bar None Ranches Memorial Foundation, CEGEN Environmental Group, Turbine-X Energy Inc., and the Western Financial Group Communities Foundation for so generously making major financial contributions to our Christmas feast this year!
🙏 We also want to give a HUGE holiday shoutout to Sobeys for donating ALL the turkeys and hams on our list in Okotoks, and to Buttercream Clothing for donating 60 beautiful handmade scarves to distribute to the folks we served this year!
And of course, thanks to all of our lovely volunteers big and small, who showed up bright and early to make holiday magic happen. Not only did they selflessly give their time and energy to help us pull off another incredible Christmas Feast, they also made it SO MUCH FUN 👏👏👏
We are truly blessed to be able to channel the holiday spirit into such a heartfelt expression of caring for those in need, and we could not be more grateful to every single person who helped us bring light to the winter darkness. We hope everyone who has been supporting us or following our story shares in the absolutely transcendant warmth and joy our Christmas Feast inspired this year ✨🎄✨
Get in the Spirit with Holiday Giving
🎄✨It's that time of year again! With the holidays right around the corner, our BCO elves are busy making plans and rallying community support as we prepare for our annual Christmas Feast. This is one of our most truly heartwarming events of the year, and it's always so inspiring to see so many local businesses, BCO partners, volunteers and donors give generously and work with our outstanding team to make it all happen, no matter how much it snows or how high demand grows.
If you know a local family in need in Okotoks or Lethbridge, get into the spirit of the season, and 'adopt' them with a nomination!
How it Works:
With generous support from the communities we serve, every year around Christmas Eve our BCO elves visit nominated families and deliver all the ingredients needed for a classic holiday feast, as well as presents for all the children on our list 🎁
Send your nominations to email@example.com or DM any of our social media accounts, and we will take care of the rest!
❄️ Last year our volunteers braved a terrible blizzard and receive the help of many selfless Christmas angels as they delivered meals and gifts to 49 nominated families in the Okotoks area and 5 families, 10 seniors and 2 group homes in Lethbridge. 2020 was the first year we expanded the Christmas Feast to Lethbridge and it was such a tremendous success that we can't wait to do it all again this year!
Call For Volunteers and Donations
We are still looking for volunteers to help us deliver meals and presents to nominated families, and donations of cash and toys/gifts to help us meet the need in our communities, which we are already seeing is higher than ever this year. Fortunately, we are also blessed with an early outpouring of support to boost our efforts, and we are confident we can keep rallying the community to rise to the challenge!
🙏 If you would like to make a donation, please contact BCO directly or visit our account on Canada Helps to give online!
Watch this space for news and updates about this year's Feast as we switch into high gear to bring the brightness of the season to those who need it most ❤️❤️
Now Accepting Donations of Warm, New or Gently Used Clothing in Lethbridge!
This past weekend our amazing BCO team in Lethbridge kicked off their annual Winter Clothing Drive! The need this year has been higher than usual, but the response from the community when we put out the call for help always rises to meet the challenge. We are confident this year will be no exception!
Drop Off Locations and Hours
If you are able to help us assist local folks in need with donations of warm, new or gently used clothing (bagged) for men, women and children, please drop items off at local showhomes by Ashcroft Master Builder, Stranville Living Master Builder, and Avonlea Homes. We are so grateful for the support of these outstanding community partners! Donations will be accepted Monday-Thursday from 2PM-8PM and Saturday/Sunday/Holidays 12PM-5PM. With the holidays right around the corner, we are also seeking donations of toys to make sure all the families we assist this year have gifts under the tree.
Countdown to BCO's 2021 Christmas Feast
This clothing drive unofficially kicks off BCO's holiday efforts to give a hand up to those in need, and our BCO elves are already busy planning our Christmas Feast in Lethbridge and Okotoks. Watch this space or follow us on social media for more information as we roll out our 2021 holiday campaign! In the meantime, if you know of a family in need of a hand up for the holidays this year, please reach out to us with nominations at firstname.lastname@example.org or send us a message via social media.
Get Involved and Make a Difference!
Are you looking to meet new people, get involved in your local community, and make a difference for those in need?
The BCO Board is currently looking to fill a few key volunteer positions in the communities we serve:
• Director (Okotoks/Foothills)
• Director (Lethbridge)
If you or someone you know has that special spark to put a little more kindness into the world, drop us a line at email@example.com. We can't wait to meet you!
BCO's 2021 Movie Night Fundraiser at High River Sunset Drive-In
BCO just wrapped up our second annual movie night fundraiser at the High River Sunset Drive-In! This year's double feature was fun for the whole family, with 'Frozen' followed by 'Indiana Jones: Temple of Doom. The Sunset is a fantastic local venue where a portion of the proceeds always goes to local charities, and we are blessed to be included among the foothills nonprofits they support.
BCO Volunteers Man the Box Office
As always, a huge BCO thank you goes to our wonderful team of volunteers who helped us take tickets, park cars and generally ensure everyone had a great time! These events would not be possible without the helping hands of our volunteers- and even with rain threatening the evening turned out beautifully this year.
Stay Tuned: Our Next Movie Night TBD Summer 2022
Stay tuned until Summer 2022 for our next movie night fundraiser at the Drive-In! In the meantime check out some of the other awesome flicks coming to the Sunset and enjoy that feel-good glow of supporting local charities while you enjoy a classic movie night under the stars!
Building Mental Health Awareness and Breaking Down Stigma in Rural Alberta
Since launching in February 2021 as an innovative mental health initiative aimed at helping the incredible folks behind small businesses in rural Alberta navigate the escalated stress and anxiety of the Covid-19 pandemic, the HeadStrong program has extended top-notch group/one-on-one coaching sessions and psychological services to many community members struggling to keep their businesses afloat and their wellness intact. The work we have been doing through this initiative is critically important, as rural Albertans often face additional challenges when struggling with mental health in small communities where these issues and the act of seeking help are often stigmatized unfairly.
HeadStrong Webinars: Sharing Real Talk About Mental Health Online
A collaborative effort, HeadStrong is also having an impact by reaching out through an ongoing series of free webinars and online workshops, featuring local personalities, business owners, and mental health professionals. Join us (and invite your network!) for these open conversations and learn practical tools and real-world strategies to navigate stress and mental health challenges as we look to the post-Covid future and assess the pandemic's impact on wellness in our community.
Join Us for Upcoming Events and Check out Our Summer Webinar Schedule!
For more information on upcoming events and mental health services offered through the HeadStrong initiative, please go to www.headstrongprogram.com or email our team at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let's keep building momentum for mental health awareness, and finding new ways to help ourselves and other members of our communities #becomeheadstrong in rural Alberta!
We are a charitable organization based in Alberta, Canada. We are devoted to helping the homeless through various fundraising events, clothing and essentials drives, and our eventual goal is transitional housing.