Keeping the homeless population warm is a passion for a young Langley woman.
Cierra Foster, who grew up in Brookswood, is hosting the 4th annual “Reason for the Season” clothing driving for Langley’s homeless residents.
“In the past we started by going to the downtown Eastside [in Vancouver]. That was good, it was nice to do it in downtown, but in the following years, I wanted to do something for Langley because there is a huge community of homeless people in Langley and since I’m gathering donations from people in Langley, it’s nice to know your donations are going to the homeless people in Langley,” explained Foster.
Four years ago, Foster said she felt she wanted to do something for the community, so she started the donation drive, and it’s become a holiday tradition for Foster and her friends and family.
Foster now studies social work at the University of Victoria, and said she’s always had a passion for helping people on a social level.
“It’s something I’ve always cared deeply about.”
Foster’s father is a homeless resident in the Fraser Valley, so she said homelessness is not something she can ignore.
“Growing up my dad has always been homeless. When I’m walking on the streets and I see someone homeless, I can’t just see past them. [When] every Christmas, and every year gets cold, that comes to mind.”
After the donation drive, Foster will hand deliver the items on Dec. 29 to the homeless community, and said if there’s anything leftover, she will bring it to the homeless community in Maple Ridge and surrounding areas.
In the past while delivering donations to homeless communities, Foster has run into her dad, and added that he is “proud” and “happy” that she does the drive.
“It’s a moment for us to see him and spend time with him,” she added.
During the donation hand out, Foster said residents are given the chance to “feel normal.”
“My favourite part is it’s very sociable. We have great conversations and it’s not just handing them stuff and saying ‘goodbye, Merry Christmas.’ People stick around and we get to talk with them and give them a moment to feel normal,” Foster added.
Foster is in need of all kinds of gently used donations including warm clothing, jackets, sweaters, pants, scarves, toques, hats, blankets, shoes, unused undergarments, feminine hygiene products, toiletries, and especially socks.
The donation drive is on Saturday, Dec. 22 from 12 to 3 p.m. in the George Preston Recreation Centre East parking lot at 20699 42 Ave.