Project HELLO Christmas cards connect lonely Vancouver residents with lost loved ones

December 4, 2015

CBC News

The Christmas season is often about spending time with family and loved ones, but that can be a difficult task for some residents of Vancouver’s impoverished Downtown Eastside.

“I’m missing home. I haven’t, in two years, spent Christmas with anybody,” says Janet Brown. “I’ve been by myself. It’s very lonely.”

But thanks to Kristi Blakeway, principal of Harry Hooge Elementary in Maple Ridge, B.C., Brown now hopes to connect with her family with a Christmas card.

Blakeway runs Beyond HELLO — Helping Everyone Locate Loved Ones. She collects Christmas cards made by elementary schoolchildren, then helps high school students send them on behalf of Downtown Eastside residents.

“People are reaching out all around the world, so it’s pretty rewarding for us,” said Blakeway.

In the seven years the project has been running, she and her volunteers have sent about 500 cards on behalf of others.

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