Blanket BC celebrating 10 years of Drive on the Line

What started as a father-son project blossomed into an annual event with more than 200 volunteers

A volunteer collects donations. Photo by Kate Gardiner.
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Reported by Kate Gardiner

On a cold night in 2005, Gregory Ould was leaving a movie theatre in Vancouver when he noticed a homeless man in an alcove. When he asked what he could do to help, he received an unexpected answer. The man wanted a blanket to survive the night.

That interaction sparked the creation of Blanket BC, which has since distributed over 400,000 blankets to those in need. Ould started the charity with the help of his son, Ben, who was nicknamed the “Warmth Warrior” by Marvel comics’ Stan Lee at Vancouver’s popular convention, Fan Expo.

Last weekend marked Blanket BC’s 10th annual Drive on the Line donation event, which collected close to 500 blankets and $8,000 in cash donations.

“British Columbia and Blanket BC are such beautiful communities,” Ould said. “By providing the warmth from your heart and volunteering your time, you create a beautiful community.”

The drive is going strong in it’s tenth year

The Drive on the Line event took place on Nov. 16 and 17 with volunteers, or “blanketeers,” collecting blankets and cash donations at eight stations along the Canada Line.

“It was honestly just meant to be a small father-son project,” Ould said, who never expected to see the 10-year anniversary.

Donation boxes were filled with quilts, throws, mittens and toques, with some donors driving from other cities with bags of cozy goods.

“I saw it advertised and I thought, well, I have some old blankets lying around. If I’m not using them, someone should,” said Paul Cheng, a first-time donor from Surrey. “I don’t mind the drive if it’s for a good cause.”

“Every single person can make an impact. It just takes one person to shake things up and make a difference,” Aman Kaur said, one of approximately 200 volunteers at the event.

Ould said he encourages students to reach out and volunteer with Blanket BC or other charitable organizations.

“Giving back is the best thing you can do. It’s the most worthy cause,” he said.

Check out The Voice’s podcast on how Vancouverites can give back to the homeless community this winter.

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