The fall of 2013 was been a very, very busy time for Jackets for Jasper, aka Liz and Len. Following up from our incredibly busy and successful open houses hosted by the generous Deep Cove Outdoors, our remaining stock was snapped up on our online store and at Deep Cove Outdoors during their regular business hours. Our stock went from “full” to almost “empty” in four weeks flat (unless you happen to love embroidered pink jackets, some of which are still available at the store…!)
But our email inbox is still full every day with requests for more…. and we have been unable to provide more this season despite our best efforts. We can place some blame on the Nepali national election, unprecedented power outages and shipping challenges… but in truth, in addition to our Real Jobs, it just got to be too much for us to stay on top of this unbelievably all-consuming fundraising project as the Christmas season approached: we had to duck for cover a bit simply to survive until and through the holidays.
But despite needing a sanity-break, we had one more important thing to do this Christmas season to complete the circle of giving generated by supporters of Jackets for Jasper… we had 16 jackets to donate!
First, we had some jackets that had been intentionally purchased for the purpose of donation to someone in need in North Vancouver. We are happy that some people have taken us up on this, since it not only supports Jasper and Resmi, but it also helps some people in our own community who may need a little extra help or warm coats for winter. So, thank you ever so much for your generosity, and you know who you are!
We chose to donate these jackets to the SAGE transition house on the North Shore: an 18-bed transition house that provides safety and support to women and their children fleeing abusive situations. This important place helps women in our community who often arrive there with nothing but the clothing on their backs. They were the grateful recipient of Brooksbank Elementary School’s donation last year and to continue the spirit of giving, we decided to donate to this same place this year.
Second, we had a few jackets that were mostly fine but either had a cosmetic issue, had been a sample or did not meet our high standards. Also, as is our policy, we swapped out any jackets that people were not 100% satisfied with. All these jackets just sat in our closet, taking up space. It seemed totally wrong to throw then out: they were still warm and cozy, but they just weren’t perfect. And we didn’t want to sell them at a discount because we didn’t think these jackets would be a good promotion for a small company that relies on word of mouth! After many discussions amongst us and with some friends and customers, we made a decision: we would remove the J4J label on the inside, and donate these otherwise perfect jackets to the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre in time for Christmas and the cold season.
The DEWC provides basic needs and positive change for women and children of the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. They support over 300 women, children and seniors, every day with a refuge and shelter from conditions of poverty and violence, and basic necessities like hot meals, free clothing and secure toilets and showers, amongst other things.
Because Len works downtown, he was the one to walk over the the Women’s Centre on one of the few rainy days we had this December. It turns out that lunch time is a terrible time to make a donation as it is their busiest time of the day. It also turns out that men are not allowed across the threshold of the Centre, which makes plenty of sense if we’d thought about it before making our plans. Even with these two strikes against our first attempt to donate, the jackets were received with thanks and no doubt are already on the backs of women who definitely could use them during the subsequent cold snap and winter months to come. We feel that we have made the right decision about these less-than-perfect jackets.
If you already have whatever warm winter jackets you need but feel in the giving spirit, consider purchasing and donating a Jackets for Jasper jacket: not only will you help us support Jasper and Resmi’s educations, you will also help keep someone in need warm and cozy this winter. Visit our “Donate a Jacket” page to learn more or Contact Us to enquire how we can team up to continue this ripple effect of giving.