Aunt Leah’s Tree Lot is a vital fundraiser for the Aunt Leah’s organization, with money raised through tree sales providing housing for moms and babies and youth aging out of foster care.
It’s setting up once again at All Saints Anglican Church at Royal Oak and Rumble and is looking for volunteers who can help out on Nov. 27 and beyond until Christmas.
It is estimated that half of B.C. foster youth will experience homelessness and during the pandemic foster youth have experienced even greater levels of housing and food insecurity.
Aunt Leah’s has been a lifeline for these vulnerable young people, offering financial assistance for rent, supported housing, meals, groceries and above all a supportive and compassionate adult to help them navigate these difficult times.
“For a mom who is eight months pregnant with nowhere to live and limited community supports, the pandemic has created an even higher level of anxiety,” said Sarah Stewart, executive director Aunt Leah’s Place. “For a young person about to lose their housing, COVID has been beyond stressful. Throughout the pandemic Aunt Leah’s has increased its effort to find housing and expand housing supports, as well as supporting new moms with their birth plans and post-natal supports. Many young people coming out of foster care are suffering re-traumatization and mental health issues due to the uncertainty, financial hardship, and isolation that the pandemic has created. Aunt Leah’s continues to provide those key connections that are often a life-line of hope for a young person on a day when hope is hard to find."
Aunt Leah’s started selling Christmas trees in the 1990s when government funding was cut.
It has turned into a viable social enterprise and Christmas tree sales have grown every year.
For many Metro Vancouver families, an Aunt Leah’s’ Christmas tree is a cherished part of their Christmas tradition. This year, extensive COVID safety measures in place, including:
- Expanded Tree Lots area to allow for more physical distancing in our busier lots
- New sanitation procedures and schedules for staff and volunteers
- Personal Protective Equipment provided to volunteers (masks, hand sanitizer, gloves)
- Face masks required inside the lots
- Plexiglass and partitions installed
- Set limits on the number of individuals inside the lots
- Pre-screening for symptoms before entry
Or people can order a tree online at www.auntleahs.org/trees
You can sign up online to volunteer https://www.auntleahs.org/get-involved/tree-lots/ or contact Hope Rayson at 778-551-5535 or email email@example.com.