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Realtors Care Blanket Drive raises thousands for Langley charities

Typically the group would collect clothing items, but this year raised funds
Michele Cartwright, Langley-based realtor, participated in the Realtors Care Charity Drive #PassTheDonation promo video to help raise funds in lieu of collecting clothing items due to COVID-19. (Laurie Dawson/Special to Langley Advance Times)

This year’s reformatted Realtors Care Blanket Drive has raised thousands for Langley charities.

The 26-year-old blanket drive campaign is a partnership among the Lower Mainland’s three real estate boards, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB), and the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB).

The campaign typically involves more than 18,000 realtors in the region collecting and distributing blankets and lightly used clothing. The donations help more than 35,000 residents stay warm during the winter months.

But this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the campaign switched to a virtual online fundraiser, which ran from Nov. 23 to 30.

And despite having to change the format of the drive, Langley-based Realtor Billie Semak was pleased with the amount raised.

“We collected money instead and had people donate online, and I thought it was phenomenal in seven days,” she said.

Semak has been involved with the drive in Langley since 2006

“It really connects people,” she said. “It’s been really a fun project to do.”

The drive raised $50,000 in the Lower Mainland– more than $15,500 in the Fraser Valley. Three Langley charities are set to receive $1,057.

Local charities to benefit include Salvation Army’s Gateway of Hope, Ishtar Women’s Resource Society, and Wagner Gills Farm Society.

Local charities will then be able to purchase items for people who are recovering from substance or domestic abuse, who need shelter or warmth, according to the REBGV.

“We as an organization, we’re very proud of our blanket drive, and the legacy of it’s 25 years of helping people,” said Chris Shields, FVREB president. “We didn’t want to miss an opportunity to continue to help those that are in need.”

Since it began in 1995, the charity says it has helped more than 425,000 people keep warm during the winter months.


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