Homelessness in Canada
According to the 2016 State of Homelessness in Canada report:
Your Support Makes a Difference!
For more than a decade, Baby it’s Cold Outside has organized winter and spring clothing drives to collect donated clothes 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 shelters such as the Mustard Seed and the Calgary Drop-In Centre, as well as smaller operations including women's shelters and pregnancy centres in communities throughout Southern Alberta.
By donating your gently used and new clothing items, or allowing us to leave a donation basket in your place of business, you've helped to relieve the growing pressure of homelessness in our province!
In response to rising homelessness across Alberta, Baby it's Cold Outside has increased our efforts to help provide Alberta’s shelters with much-needed essentials and support the growing demand they face for basic necessities.
Baby it's Cold Outside has expanded from a one-city annual clothing drive into an ongoing province-wide charity drive to collect basic necessities.
During our Essentials Drives, we connect with community partners to collect toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, conditioner, feminine hygiene products, condoms, razors, deodorant, lip balm, lotion, and other toiletries.
Donation of new essential items—especially hotel-sized travel items—is always hugely appreciated for these drives!
In cooperation with our fabulous partner Windy Point Soap, we have even organized community events to help us make some of these essentials by hand!
Once collected (or handmade), essentials are sorted and packaged by our wonderful volunteers into convenient toiletry packs and delivered to shelters throughout southern Alberta!
One of BCO’s most exciting and well-known events is our annual Christmas Feast. Supported by fundraising events we hold throughout the year, as well as direct contributions from community partners wishing to spread holiday cheer and "anonymous angel" donations from individuals, we provide Christmas dinners for families in the Foothills area 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 recipients are contacted to determine a menu tailored specially to their families. 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.
Christmas Feast Stats:
- In 2017, BCO served 11 Foothills families, totaling 84 individuals, 26 of whom were children under the age of 13.
- Our 2018 Christmas Feast served 27 families, which totalled 128 people, and included 56 children! Thanks to so many incredibly generous donations, every child we met also had a present under the tree.
- We built on this generosity in 2019, serving 31 families for a grand total of 139 individuals, which included 68 children. Our team of 29 volunteers also made sure every child had presents under the tree!
Community Liaison Role and Raising Awareness
Through BCO’s charity drives, community outreach initiatives and fundraising events, we have helped to build greater awareness regarding homelessness in Alberta. What started as a small clothing drive more than a decade ago has grown into a huge success with donations coming in from across the province!
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.
We could not do what we do without all of the compassionate support we receive from the communities we serve. 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