A youth-led charity group is asking Delta residents to clean out their closets this weekend in support of area shelters.
Uplift Canada Foundation, a registered non-profit organization that up-cycles donated clothing and directly relocates them to local shelters, is holding a clothing drive in the Ladner area on Saturday, Jan. 29. The entire event in non-contact and COVID-safe, with residents asked to leave items bagged and outside on their doorsteps for Uplift’s volunteers to pick up.
After consulting with staff from various B.C.-based shelters, the organization has chosen to practice “intentional giving,” meaning each month it collects only items requested by shelter residents.
For the Ladner drive, Uplift Canada is looking for winter gloves, women’s sweaters, sweatpants, jackets, hoodies, leggings and warm boots (size 7), and men’s sweatpants, jackets, hoodies, pants, boots, t-shirts and pants (size 32-38). The items will then be distributed to the Elizabeth Fry Society, The Nest, Surrey Urban Mission, Al Mitchell Place and Phoenix Society.
In addition to helping those in need, Uplift Canada also aims to divert textiles that would otherwise end up in landfills — on average 37 kilograms (about 81.5 pounds) per person in Canada every year and an estimated 10.5 million tonnes annually across North America, according to statistics compiled by Waste Reduction Week in Canada.
“We are an all-encompassing NGO (non-governmental organization) because we work to alleviate environmental and social justice inequalities in a way that benefits both the giver and the receiver,” reads a press release promoting Saturday’s pick-up event.
“By up-cycling clothing donations and ultimately supporting the circular economy, Uplift Canada is alleviating the environmental damage being caused by clothing waste in landfills, and instead repurposing these items into a usable resource to those in need.”
Uplift Canada was founded by Tsawwassen resident Maggie Larocque, a fourth-year pre-law honours student at McGill University, in January 2021. An active member of the McGill/Montreal community, Larocque is the former president of McGill’s United Nations Women’s Association and mentors Indigenous youth through the Branches Montreal Program, among other activities.
“What inspired me to start The Uplift Canada Foundation was a trip to a local waste management facility (the dump) in British Columbia. Not only was it an environmentally disheartening place to visit, but I witnessed, first hand, the sheer amount of clothing waste that is prevalent in my own backyard,” Larocque said in an emailed statement to the Reporter.
“I simply couldn’t believe my eyes, witnessing the piles and piles of perfectly good clothing that was simply going to waste. Something had to be done. Hence, The Uplift Canada Foundation.”
The organization hosts monthly clothing pickups on the last Saturday of each month, and has to date collected donations in Tsawwassen, Ladner, North Delta Surrey, White Rock, Coquitlam, New Westminster, Burnaby, West Vancouver, and Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighbourhood.
Just this month, Uplift Canada established a new team in Montreal, and is currently collecting monetary donations to keep their operations running and expand the organization nationwide.
To register for this weekend’s clothing drive, or to make a monetary donation, visit upliftcanadafoundation.org.
— with files from Tracy Holmes