Erin Schulte poses in 2017 with some of the hundreds of Christmas cards she collected as part of a campaign encouraging the community to write on Christmas cards for the homeless. Schulte received an outpouring of support last year, and is expanding the initiative this year, estimating she will need a few thousand cards. (Now-Leader file photo)

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

Erin Schulte expands initiative to have blank cards filled out by children and sent to shelters

Have any blank Christmas cards lying around the house?

A North Delta woman hopes you’ll send them her way, encouraging people to get into the spirit of giving a little early this year, as she prepares to bring Christmas cheer to the homeless for the second year in a row.

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

Schulte was “overwhelmed” with the “amazing” outpouring of community support last year, ultimately collecting and distrubuting an estimated 1,000 cards after initially setting out to collect just 225.

“Now I need way more,” she said. “I have to start collecting early. Literally, I need a few thousand.”

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

Why so many more?

Because her reach is expanding beyond the Lower Mainland this year, Schulte explained.

“Cards were sent to shelters in Surrey, Abbotsford and Maple Ridge last year. Now, it’s all Surrey, plus modular housing, and branching out here. As well, the Sunshine Coast, Red Deer, Vernon and a men’s shelter in Toronto,” Schulte told the Now-Leader.

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

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.

“Seeing so many that didn’t have family to spend Christmas with,” she added. “They had nothing to look forward to.”

“It’s about giving back and spreading peace and love.”

Schulte also hopes the project inspires children to have conversations about homelessness, and “the real meaning of Christmas.”

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



amy.reid@surreynowleader.com

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