For the second year in a row, admins of the Clarington, ON VarageSale community got together to rally their members and organize donations for a charitable organization that was especially close to their hearts.

VarageSale - Community Story

“This year we … teamed up with the Refuge,” says Beth. An organization in Oshawa that helps homeless youth, the Refuge provides a space for children and teens to get a meal, a shower—and just as importantly—some support.

“There’s a huge misconception that runaway teens are runaways because they don’t like the rules,” says Andrea. “I would say 95% of kids …. are homeless because … home is way worse than sleeping on the streets. For us, to support a community service like that is huge.… These kids are our future.”

Every Christmas, the Refuge runs its successful backpack program, where giving members of the community are asked to donate backpacks overflowing with stuff for infants, kids and teens in need. The Refuge provides a list of items that would be ideal for each age group, making it that much easier for the charitable souls in the their community.

Christmas wish list | VarageSale

Reading about the program, the Clarington admins were moved to action. “We have a platform where we can reach over 10,000 people,” says Andrea. “Why not use [it] for good?”

After pinning a post asking their members to participate, Andrea and Beth were delighted with the hugely positive response—and most of it within the first 24 hours!
Christmas wish list | VarageSale

As they approached the December 4th donation date, these two selfless admins were humbled by the generosity of their members. “We couldn’t believe how many donations kept coming in!” says Beth.

Obviously moved by the mission of the Refuge and the vulnerable youth they serve, the Clarington community responded with open hands and hearts. A local dental clinic donated 30 new toothbrushes and 36 tubes of toothpaste. A new mother on maternity leave bought and donated 101 new blankets with her unused Christmas bonus. Others handed over everything from new backpacks to toiletries to canned goods to toys. Soon, neither Andrea nor Beth had enough space in their homes to store everything. And their garages were soon close to full.

VarageSale - Community Story

And the bags continued to pile up. Beth and Andrea worked diligently to organize and track every donation, sorting the old from the new and keeping Clarington community members posted on what items The Refuge still needed.

VarageSale - Community Story
Thanks to the generosity of their VarageSale community, Andrea and Beth were able to donate a trailer filled with items for infants, children and teens. Beth estimates their members dropped off around $3,000-$3,500 in new products alone, plus 20 bags of gently used items, $230 in gift cards and four large boxes of non-perishable food.

When the admins rolled up on their drop-off day with their overstuffed trailer full of bags and boxes of goods, the Refuge staffers were inundated by the community’s generosity.

“The Refuge staff were pretty speechless,” said Beth. “They were shocked and overwhelmed with the amount of items we donated.”

Alexis Smid, the operations manager at the Refuge, agrees with Beth.

“We were extremely, beautifully overwhelmed,” she said. “…The way the community banded together was so incredible. We were completely blown away. I keep using the word overwhelming, but the room was full.”

Alexis had spoken to the admins prior to their drop off date, and only expected them to donate a few backpacks. But after seeing the generosity of their community, she said Refuge staffers were shocked.

“To our amazing surprise, there was a U-Haul full of stuff. We really weren’t expecting it,” Alexis said.

According to Alexis, the Clarington community donations went a long way to fill backpacks that were short on items, and helped them easily meet their quota to ensure all the youth they serve get the items they need this Christmas. And she anticipates that those full-to-the-brim backpacks will bring a smile to the faces of their homeless kids and teens this year.

“Our community is amazing,” both admins agreed.

Posted by:Varagesale Blog

19 replies on “This Community Knows the True Meaning of Christmas

  1. Does anyone do this in the Jane and maple leaf area or anyone in Newmarket Keswick area I would be very interested in doing this next year my name is Nancy
    Please email me and let me know about this and what I would need to do to prepare

    Like

  2. Does anyone do this in the Jane and maple leaf area or anyone in Newmarket Keswick area I would be very interested in doing this next year my name is Nancy
    Please email me and let me know about this and what I would need to do to prepare

    Like

  3. Does anyone do this in the Jane and maple leaf area or anyone in Newmarket Keswick area I would be very interested in doing this next year my name is Nancy
    Please email me and let me know about this and what I would need to do to prepare

    Like

  4. To do something this wonderful takes hearts filled with compassion, where there is no room for judgement. And always with this much compassion and drive pulls in others like magnets. Leaders lead, and others help the dream come true. Congratulations! Merry Christmas to all, leading, working, giving and receiving!

    Like

  5. To do something this wonderful takes hearts filled with compassion, where there is no room for judgement. And always with this much compassion and drive pulls in others like magnets. Leaders lead, and others help the dream come true. Congratulations! Merry Christmas to all, leading, working, giving and receiving!

    Like

  6. What a blessing you are to that community … One of the other readers has the right idea … we need to get this idea spread through all communities for next year. There are so many generous people in the world that we could tap into if they are made aware of the need. My kids and I have been doing the Christmas Shoeboxes but we have discussed that there are so many right here in Canada who need our help as well …we give through Salvation Army but even that doesn’t seem to be enough. God is good and has blessed us so much that we can’t help but give back

    Like

  7. What a blessing you are to that community … One of the other readers has the right idea … we need to get this idea spread through all communities for next year. There are so many generous people in the world that we could tap into if they are made aware of the need. My kids and I have been doing the Christmas Shoeboxes but we have discussed that there are so many right here in Canada who need our help as well …we give through Salvation Army but even that doesn’t seem to be enough. God is good and has blessed us so much that we can’t help but give back

    Like

  8. What a blessing you are to that community … One of the other readers has the right idea … we need to get this idea spread through all communities for next year. There are so many generous people in the world that we could tap into if they are made aware of the need. My kids and I have been doing the Christmas Shoeboxes but we have discussed that there are so many right here in Canada who need our help as well …we give through Salvation Army but even that doesn’t seem to be enough. God is good and has blessed us so much that we can’t help but give back

    Like

  9. What a blessing you are to that community … One of the other readers has the right idea … we need to get this idea spread through all communities for next year. There are so many generous people in the world that we could tap into if they are made aware of the need. My kids and I have been doing the Christmas Shoeboxes but we have discussed that there are so many right here in Canada who need our help as well …we give through Salvation Army but even that doesn’t seem to be enough. God is good and has blessed us so much that we can’t help but give back

    Like

  10. What a blessing you are to that community … One of the other readers has the right idea … we need to get this idea spread through all communities for next year. There are so many generous people in the world that we could tap into if they are made aware of the need. My kids and I have been doing the Christmas Shoeboxes but we have discussed that there are so many right here in Canada who need our help as well …we give through Salvation Army but even that doesn’t seem to be enough. God is good and has blessed us so much that we can’t help but give back

    Like

  11. What a blessing you are to that community … One of the other readers has the right idea … we need to get this idea spread through all communities for next year. There are so many generous people in the world that we could tap into if they are made aware of the need. My kids and I have been doing the Christmas Shoeboxes but we have discussed that there are so many right here in Canada who need our help as well …we give through Salvation Army but even that doesn’t seem to be enough. God is good and has blessed us so much that we can’t help but give back

    Like

  12. What a blessing you are to that community … One of the other readers has the right idea … we need to get this idea spread through all communities for next year. There are so many generous people in the world that we could tap into if they are made aware of the need. My kids and I have been doing the Christmas Shoeboxes but we have discussed that there are so many right here in Canada who need our help as well …we give through Salvation Army but even that doesn’t seem to be enough. God is good and has blessed us so much that we can’t help but give back

    Like

  13. What a blessing you are to that community … One of the other readers has the right idea … we need to get this idea spread through all communities for next year. There are so many generous people in the world that we could tap into if they are made aware of the need. My kids and I have been doing the Christmas Shoeboxes but we have discussed that there are so many right here in Canada who need our help as well …we give through Salvation Army but even that doesn’t seem to be enough. God is good and has blessed us so much that we can’t help but give back

    Like

  14. What a blessing you are to that community … One of the other readers has the right idea … we need to get this idea spread through all communities for next year. There are so many generous people in the world that we could tap into if they are made aware of the need. My kids and I have been doing the Christmas Shoeboxes but we have discussed that there are so many right here in Canada who need our help as well …we give through Salvation Army but even that doesn’t seem to be enough. God is good and has blessed us so much that we can’t help but give back

    Like

  15. What a blessing you are to that community … One of the other readers has the right idea … we need to get this idea spread through all communities for next year. There are so many generous people in the world that we could tap into if they are made aware of the need. My kids and I have been doing the Christmas Shoeboxes but we have discussed that there are so many right here in Canada who need our help as well …we give through Salvation Army but even that doesn’t seem to be enough. God is good and has blessed us so much that we can’t help but give back

    Like

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