A Victoria-based charity program that fulfils the Christmas wishes of homeless people in various Canadian cities needs funds to continue its project this year.
Jennie and Daniel Keeran started homelesspartners.com from their laptops while living in Vancouver in 2005 after sharing breakfast with a homeless man who told them about his struggles on the street.
With the help of a team of volunteers, they went into shelters to ask those using the services what they most wanted for Christmas. Their stories were posted to a website where donors could shop for a gift for an individual.
In Victoria, three shelters were surveyed in recent years: Rock Bay Landing, Next Steps Transitional Shelter and Sandy Merriman House. Dozens of stories and wishes were fulfilled. Some included simple things like gift cards for food, bus passes, underwear and phone cards.
Others had wishes granted such as a Christmas present for a grandchild, a bottle of perfume and art supplies.
More than 6,700 gifts have been pledged in 10 cities.
This year, the program faced serious difficulties with software issues and a lack of funds to keep going. A team of Vancouver programmers and developers is ready to help launch a new website that will allow users to create similar programs in their own cities. The team will volunteer its time in a three-day coding session this month.
Homelesspartners.com needs the funds to rent a space for the programmers, expand the program and register as a non-profit charity. For more information, go to homelesspartners.com.