When Katrina Guenther started collecting jeans to donate to homeless youth, she set a goal of 100 pairs.
But thanks to the generosity of the North Delta community, her Teens for Jeans campaign ultimately collected more than four times that amount.
“I didn’t realize how many I had until I was physically counting them all and putting them into the truck,” Guenther said. “I mean, my goal was only to get a hundred pairs, and to see 437 was just amazing.”
The Burnsview Secondary grad first ran the event two years ago, collecting 80 pairs of jeans. This year's effort was far more successful, thanks in part to support from Mayor Lois Jackson and Delta council.
Guenther posted about her campaign on the North Delta Community Corner Facebook page, where it came to Jackson’s attention.
Soon after, Jackson brought it to council’s attention and collection boxes were set up in all of Delta’s recreation centres and at Municipal Hall.
“We all have the ability to make small impacts in this world and no matter how small, it can make a huge difference in the lives of others,” Guenther said. “You just have to be willing to try.”
At the conclusion of this year's campaign, Guenther delivered the jeans to Covenant House Vancouver and was given a tour of the organization’s facility on Drake Street, where she was shown how the public’s donations would help the more than 1,000 youth who access the organization’s services each year.
“They actually have kind of like a store upstairs where the youth are able to come a couple of times a week to kind of do their own little shop and pick out a couple of items and try it on,” Guenther said.
“There’s fitting rooms and mirrors, so it gives a really individualized [experience] instead of it just being a handout. They get to choose it and it’s more personal to them.
“But just getting to actually see the facility and what all they do and the support that they give to the kids – and it’s not only just to have them come in for a safe place to be for awhile, they provide them programs where they can actually eventually be successful contributors to society and grow skills…Yeah, it’s really amazing.”
Guenther said she plans to make this a bi-annual effort, although next time it may not be jeans that she collects.
Other items on Covenant House’s wish list include underwear, socks, shoes, diapers, watches, alarm clocks, umbrellas, wallets, cellphones and steel-toed work boots.
To donate to Covenant House, visit covenanthousebc.org or call 604-638-4438.