For the first time its 11 years, the annual Blanket BC drive on the Canada Line will not take place – due to COVID-19.
Richmond resident and Blanket BC Society’s executive director Gregory Ould said the decision was taken last week to cancel the event due to concerns over the spread of the disease.
Ould, whose day job is a Canada Line attendant for the track’s operator Protrans BC, said, after talking with health officials and Protrans management, they felt the only responsible thing to do was cancel.
However, it now leaves the non-profit – which collects then donates thousands of blankets every winter to shelter programs, the homeless and families – in a financial hole, with Ould himself keeping the society afloat.
“We decided just last week; I was kind of waiting to see if the (COVID) numbers rose or fell,” said Ould, who was delivering blankets on Monday, en route to his honeymoon in Whistler.
“I just wasn’t comfortable with bringing the amount of people it would into the stations. We’re trying not to have people gathering and the last thing we want is to have even one COVID case on our hands.
“We’re still hoping to raise money, though. We’re actually in a hole right now. I’ve basically been funding the organization since December.
“Blanket donations are still coming in, but the money is not. We need the money for our operations, for pick up, delivery, insurance; the insurance is very costly.”
Ould said the society is still going to need blankets, however, as they won’t be doing the annual drive at Canada Line stations, thought to be the biggest of its kind in North America.
Although the society has been running the annual drive for 11 years, the organization is actually marking its 15th birthday this year.
As such, it’s about to launch its “Drive Online” campaign, with a goal of raising $15,000 to help buy blankets and keep the society operating.
Anyone willing to help with donations, monetary or blankets, or wants to volunteer, go online to BlanketBC.org.