As temperatures dip lower in Toronto, furnishing company Urban Barn aims to shield the homeless this winter by providing some much-needed warmth.
Throughout November the company is attempting to Blanket the Country in Warmth with a goal of donating 8,000 fleece blankets in an effort to prepare shelters for the winter weather. At the chain’s 41 retailers across Canada, with every $5 donation, Urban Barn will give one of their blankets to a local homeless shelter.
Manager Cassie Ocampo at Urban Barn’s Scarborough outlet says everyone is excited about the partnership and despite it being the first year, the reception has been great so far.
“Urban Barn is really popular for their blankets and throws … it’s nice to donate a blanket instead of money. It’s something that is unique to Urban Barn,” she said.
The Scarborough outlet has partnered with Second Base Youth Shelter, which aims to provide warmth and shelter for children. Sharon Ellen-Elliot is a manager at Second Base, and she says she can’t be more grateful for the timing of this initiative.
A lot of people don’t realize that youth don’t have food or shelter and that there are children in need. We want people to reach out during the holidays and realize that there are those who don’t have something just a basic as warmth
— Cassie Ocampo
“I’m thrilled,” she said. “Just last week we picked up 10 comforters and spent $150 which we could have used for something else in the shelter,” she said.
Second Base has been gearing up for what people believe is going to be a bitterly cold winter by having maintenance checks for their heating system and stock-piling winter clothes for youth.
Ellen-Elliot tells people she is a lover of winter, and that she aims to encourage and share this within Second Base.
“It’s true, I walk around and tell people that [I love winter], but you can’t love it if you are not warm … Just as we enjoy being warm and snuggled, so do youth in shelters,” she said.
Susan Nick is a consultant at Elevator Communications, which represents Urban Barn. Nick says the Blanket the Country in Warmth initiative is essential because the company wants the brand to connect with the community.
“We want to make a direct impact, so it is important for us to choose shelters in the community that play a positive role and address homelessness,” Nick said.
Aside from providing relief, Ocampo believes it is also Urban Barn’s hope to carry its message into the community.
“A lot of people don’t realize that youth don’t have food or shelter and that there are children in need. We want people to reach out during the holidays and realize that there are those who don’t have something just a basic as warmth,” she said.
Even though it’s still in its infancy, Ocampo says Urban Barn’s Blanket the Country in Warmth endeavour is something that many would like to see perpetuated in the coming winters.