It’s becoming increasingly difficult to walk through the Courier’s reception area these days due to the number of bags and boxes visitors to the office have left behind. Hopefully it will become even more cluttered over the next several days.
Every fall for the past eight years, office manager June Stafford has placed ads inside the paper and on the Courier’s website soliciting donations of goods from readers to help out Directions Youth Services, a non-profit agency that operates a centre downtown for homeless and impoverished youth.
Readers have once again generously answered the call with donations, but more room for more donations can easily be found before the Dec. 14 deadline.
“We have a group of women who always knit a variety of much-needed warm clothing like hats and sweaters, but we are always looking for new items,” Stafford said.
“This is a chance to make a real difference in the lives of young people who need a helping hand to get their lives back on track and hopefully become productive members of society.”
Directions Youth Services, operated by Family Services of Greater Vancouver, offers a wide range of services designed to help youth between 12 and 18 years old improve their lives — finding secure housing or a temporary job, improving their life skills or simply getting access to medical services, including addictions services and mental health counsellors.
Directions also provides hot meals, laundry service and shower facilities 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and offers a safe haven for teens to get off the streets.
Stafford said items that don’t take up much space such as transit ticket books and gift cards to fast food restaurants or coffee shops are highly prized, but so far not as many have been turned in this year.
“Times are tough for a lot of people right now, but anything people can offer is really appreciated by these kids,” she said.
Other items on Directions’ Christmas wish list include underwear, tents, first aid kits, footwear, coats, gloves, hats, socks, rain pants and sleeping bags.
There is also always a high demand for personal hygiene products such as soap, shampoo, conditioner, towels, deodorant, razors, shaving cream, tampons/pads, toothpaste, dental floss and toothbrushes.
While the Courier can only accept donations of unused items at its office, some gently used products can also be donated directly at the centre itself at its temporary location behind the former Kettle of Fish restaurant at 900 Pacific St.
The City of Vancouver recently purchased a property at 1134 Burrard St. and the centre will relocate to the new facility in late 2013. Visit fsgv.ca for more information about the facility.