Erin Schulte with some of the cards donated in 2017, as part of her project to bring Christmas cheer to the homeless. (Now-Leader file photo)

Christmas

Surrey-born ‘Christmas Card Collective’ for homeless explodes in popularity

Thousands of cards donated and now, people sought to fill in the cards with heart-warming words

Erin Schulte said “donations poured in” after she called out to the community to donate Christmas cards in October, as part of her efforts to bring holiday cheer to the homeless for the second year in a row.

It’s an initiative she’s dubbed the “Christmas Card Collective.”

“I needed 3,200, but received over 5,000,” said Schulte, a North Delta resident. “So many amazing people from our local community, and cards literally came in from all over the country.”

She said she’s particularly grateful to Aline Greeting Cards and Minuteman Press, which donated 1,000 and 500 cards, respectively.

Schulte’s concept is simple: Collect Christmas cards, distribute them to people who can fill them with well wishes and heart-warming words, then send them to homeless shelters to place upon pillows during the holidays.

“Ideally, I want one on each bed for three days before Christmas,” she said. “I want them to look forward to them each night.”

As a result of the outpouring of generosity of those donating the cards, Schulte said Surrey Urban Mission and the city’s shelters run by Lookout Housing and Health Society will receive cards in the days leading up to Christmas.

But the cards will be going much, much farther than that, with some destined for homeless shelters in Red Deer, Vernon, Toronto, a Seattle youth shelter, and even all the way to the Los Angeles Mission.

“With the postal strike came the worry of how I would get the cards delivered,” Schulte explained. But VanKam Freightways offered to deliver to shelters in Red Deer and Vernon and the company Schulte works for, Hercules Freight, is delivering the cards to Toronto and Los Angeles shelters.

“I personally will be driving the Seattle ones to the youth shelter,” Schulte added.

See also: Surrey-born project aims to send thousands of Christmas cards to homeless

WATCH: VIDEO: Schulte ‘overwhelmed’ by Christmas cards for Surrey’s homeless

Before the cards make their way to shelters, another big job lies ahead: Schulte needs about 3,500 cards filled with Christmas wishes.

“Classrooms, sports teams, hospital units, Fortis employees, workplaces, Sparks and Girl Guides have all been writing in cards,” she told the Now-Leader, but more are needed.

And time is quickly running out.

“We literally have until around Dec. 17,” said Schulte.

Anyone who wishes get involved can email Schulte at erinlauren@hotmail.com, or find her on Facebook (Erin Schulte).

A Facebook page has also just been created, called “The Christmas Card Collective.”

Schulte, who used to run a Pop-Up Soup Kitchen on 135A Street, said her work along the infamous road motivated her to launch the project last year.

She was “overwhelmed” with the “amazing” outpouring of community support in year one, ultimately collecting and distributing an estimated 1,000 cards in 2017 after initially setting out to collect just 225.

“Seeing so many that didn’t have family to spend Christmas with,” she said, when asked about her inspiration. “They had nothing to look forward to.”

This year, Schulte is taken aback by how the project has exploded in popularity.

“The thing that has made this year so different is where the cards took us,” she said. “The end result is getting these cards on the beds for the three days leading up to Christmas but it has brought so much more. Conversations about compassion and homelessness and the true meaning of Christmas have been happening around so many dinner tables and class rooms. I have been blessed to speak to many groups about giving back and putting a dream into motion and that Christmas is not about making lists. Christmas is not about things we buy.

“Christmas comes from your heart,” Schulte added. “It’s in how you give of yourself to others to make the season that bit brighter.”

Schulte asks others to help her “fill these cards with love.”



amy.reid@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Amy on Twitter

Just Posted

KPU hosts first welding summer camp in Surrey for high school students

Weeklong course funded by LNG Canada and the Canadian Welding Bureau

Plans move ahead for White Rock multicultural festival

Day-long event scheduled for August 2020 to promote ‘love and understanding’

‘Do the right thing,’ implores sister of South Surrey stabbing victim

IHIT confirms male arrested in connection with Paul Prestbakmo’s death no longer in custody

Man injured in early-morning Surrey shooting

Police say it was targeted and it ‘may be connected to drug trafficking’

Groovy South Surrey wedding a throwback to Woodstock ‘69

Couple hosts themed wedding 50 years after legendary festival

VIDEO: Could we BE any more excited? ‘Friends’ fans go crazy for merch

Movie theatres will show select episodes to mark the NBC series’ 25th anniversary

VIDEO: Organization’s stolen wheelchair van recovered on backroad near Hope

Wheelchair accessible van is only transportation for some people in Hope area

Pregnant teachers fight to change WorkSafeBC compensation rules

Agency does not recognize risk to unborn babies when mother catches illness from work

Officials say 50 Oppenheimer Park residents have agreed to leave, as deadline looms

Residents have been told they must be gone by 6 p.m. on Aug. 21

Five hedgehogs quickly adopted after being left at BC SPCA

Lucky new owners picked up their pets from Maple Ridge branch on Aug. 20

B.C. cricket players get interrupted by racist remark

Community has had protocols in place for years to respond to prejudice

Nearly 50% of Canadians experience ‘post-vacation blues’: poll

48 per cent of travellers are already stressed about ‘normal life’ while still on their trip

More women may need breast cancer gene test, U.S. guidelines say

Recommendations aimed at women who’ve been treated for BRCA-related cancers and are now cancer-free

Most Read