Group of students in Toronto are trying to collect sleeping bags for people in need
A group of dedicated nursing students from Toronto have come together under one generous cause: to raise enough funds to purchase 50 sleeping bags for people in Toronto who are unhoused.
The fundraiser, titled, "5050 Project: 50 Sleeping Bags for 50 People" aims to provide high-quality sleeping bags to offer protection for those who cannot find shelter.
"Winter is fast approaching, and Toronto alone has nearly 10,000 people who are unhoused and need our support," the project's GoFundMe page reads. "Warming stations, 24-hour respites, shelters and drop-ins will be overwhelmed, and thousands of Torontonians must withstand our freezing temperatures daily."
Organizer Megan Terriss told blogTO the idea originated out of her Toronto-based Scholar Practitioner Program, where she pitched the idea of the project to her fellow nursing classmates.
"I'm very passionate about this specific population. There's a lot of needs, and a lot of really significant gaps," she explained.
Because most reasonably priced sleeping bags are not often rated for temperatures below zero, Terriss said the group became determined to purchase professional-grade sleeping bags that can specifically withstand negative winter temperatures. According to the GoFundMe page, sleeping bags of this calibre can cost up to $200-300.
"We are tired of it. Tired of waiting on policy changes, tired of feeling helpless. We need quick solutions and we can't do it alone," the fundraiser's website reads.
Terriss said that in the event the projects exceeds its goal, the group plans to purchase more materials of need for organizations including winter jackets, boots, hats, mitts, and socks.
With the help of social media and dozens of shares, the fundraiser managed to attract the attention of MEC (Mountain Equipment Company) who has provided the group with a discount.
"It started out as a family and friends kind of thing to share this out, but at this point it's really driven entirely by social media," Terriss told blogTO.
The group is prioritizing the distribution of sleeping bags in Toronto first, where there is the highest volume of people who don't have shelter. They also plan on raising funds throughout the winter, from December to February.
"It's not easy fundraising because it feels sometimes like you're calling out and nobody's listening," Terriss said. "If you can, all we are asking for really is $5."
At the time of writing, the fundraiser has raised just under $3000 out of its $12,500 goal, with funds for 14 sleeping bags already secured.
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