We became members of Okotoks & District Chambers of Commerce.
Our fall fundraiser left us speechless, the support within the community, Town of Okotoks and from the Okotoks and District Chamber of Commerce was immeasurable and it allowed BCO to create a new level of awareness of those in need in our communities and how we are all connected, including the importance of seeing each other.
Our Christmas Feast fed 128 people, including 56 children, within 27 families. Every child had a present under the tree. So many supporters this season made this event the biggest act of kindness to date! Huge thanks go out to Okotoks Sobeys, Hallmark Does Hair, Pure Envy Salon, We Wash Windows, Pet Valu Okotoks, Okotoks Culture & Heritage, RBC, Excel Benefits Inc, iDental, The Eagle 100.9, Okotoks Western Wheel Newspaper, Linda (our Christmas angel for making stockings), our Calgary angel who made delicious treats, everyone who nominated a family in need (it's so important to look out for our neighbours during the holiday season), and all of our amazing volunteers who helped bring it all together and deliver the Christmas Feasts to each of our families.
We had an article in Okotoks Living magazine, creating more awareness for our local community of how we offer a hand up and our future aspirations for those in need.
We received an early Christmas present and got our official status as a Registered Charity!
And none of this could have happened without all the support we received from all of you, our volunteers and from our communities throughout Alberta! Thank you.
We have amazing plans for 2019, and we would love to have you join us!
Follow us on Facebook to stay up-to-date with our latest news.
Happy New Year,
Join us on our donation drop by watching our new video! Special thanks to:
Chatters Salon Okotoks
Hub International Phoenix Edmonton / Calgary
ChaCha John's Fusion Kitchen
Noise Solutions Inc.
Auburn Bay Angels
And all the generous souls that supported us for our April Awareness Month
~ Team BCO
Congratulations, Alberta! You have tipped the scales with 700 pounds of kindness during our April Awareness spring fling drive. You have donated a total of 37 bags of clothing, linens, toiletries and towels.
A huge Thank You from us to You!
~ Team BCO
#kindness #homelessawareness #bco #yyc #yeg #charity #donations #loveandgratitude #albertarocks
April is BCO's Awareness Month. Why April? Because even though the sun is out, it's getting warmer, winters sleep is over, and new life is budding, life on the streets still remains a struggle.
Survey says: The likelihood of you finishing this read without a picture or video to stimulate you is very slim.The likelihood of you liking or sharing is a fraction of that. That's okay! If this resonates with one soul enough to create the awareness needed to stimulate action, then it has served its purpose.
At BCO, our agenda remains the same throughout the year: to bring awareness to poverty and the crisis of homelessness; to support existing shelters with clothing and toiletries throughout the year; and to work diligently on our longterm goal of a housing-first strategy in transitional housing.
Let's create a dialogue about what the reality is living on the streets. For instance, the number of men over 46 years of age that are currently homeless has increased 440% in the past 16 years. The average life span of a homeless individual is only 57 years old. This is staggering! These are our sons, fathers, uncles, and grandfathers. And this is just a single example of one demographic living on the streets.
What happens? How do you become homeless? Why don't you get a job? These questions are filled with explanations that are in some cases deeper than than the initial thought. Some explanations include mental illness, addictions, job loss, economic downturns, disability, low income, domestic abuse, family alienation, racial segregation, runaways, death of a family member, LGBTQ prejudice...and the list goes on.
Homelessness doesn't go away when the sun comes out and temperatures rise. It remains. It is still a challenge trying to get a bed at a local shelter. It is still cold in the middle of the night sleeping on a bench/ground/stairwell. Clothes are still needed, food is still needed, hope is still needed, help is still needed.
This is the reality. The needs remain the same and the homeless population is increasing. So what can we do?
We can be aware and spread awareness (you can start by simply sharing this post). We can create a dialogue within our communities. We can show support to individuals on the streets by volunteering, donating, and above all showing respect and treating everyone with kindness and equality no matter what path they may presently be on.
We can stop being uncomfortable about the conversation, and stop feeling guilty about not doing anything by starting to do something, no matter what that something looks like.
We can stop and look in the eyes of a homeless individual and truly see a person, a life, a soul worthy of respect and kindness.
We can look at family members that didn't fit the family model and now may be on the streets and rethink past decisions and use education as a tool to repair.
The only thing we can't do is turn away--walk on the other side of the street, ignore because it doesn't involve us, because it makes us feel uncomfortable. We must realize homelessness does involve all of us, because we are all one.
Take the first step by liking and sharing this post to help us raise awareness of homelessness all year round, and donate to your local shelters or contact BCO (or stop by any of BCO's affiliate companies) to drop off your summer clothing and personal hygiene items so that together we can make a difference in our communities this spring season.
Whether it's -40C or +20C, the need is always present for a helping hand. At BCO, we are committed to bringing awareness to the crucial need of giving a hand up in our communities, even when the sun is out and the flowers are blooming. If you are in the midst of your spring cleaning and have any clothing or hygiene items (see below) to donate, please fling them our way for our Annual Spring Fling Clothing Drive!
We are excited to partner with corporations, local businesses, and retailers to fill this critical need for items to those who need a hand up.
This is where you can make a difference in your community! The following items are needed currently:
Aloe Vera for sunburns
Summer clothing – new or gently used (men/women/children/teens)
Underwear – new (men/women)
Hats – new or gently used
Shoes and sandals – new or gently used
Clothing for interviews (men/women)
If you want to know how to get involved in giving a hand up, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow us on Facebook.
Thank you for your hand up!
~ Team BCO
We are a charitable organization based in Alberta, Canada. We are devoted to helping the homeless through various fundraising events, clothing and essentials drives, and our eventual goal is transitional housing.