#givehopeyyc, a social media campaign to help those in need, is giving hope to the homeless

MustardSeedTHUMBThe countdown is on, and as the days draw closer to Dec. 25, crowds of people begin to fill boutiques and shopping malls across the city. The Christmas spirit is alive and well, however a familiar shadow still lingers: homelessness.

Many in our city will spend Christmas out in the cold and excluded from the festivities.
A local non-profit agency is spreading the true meaning of Christmas by challenging Calgarians to do something to help the homeless and to give hope.

On their 30th anniversary on Nov. 25, the Mustard Seed Calgary started a social media campaign on Twitter and Facebook called “30 Days of Giving Hope to Homeless.”

They want people to share the one thing they did to help the homeless. They’re now asking anyone posting or tweeting to use the hashtag #givehopeYYC

Karen Binnie, communications consultant for The Mustard Seed, says there are numerous ways to make a difference.

“Helping the homeless is not only a good and charitable thing to do to help others less fortunate, but it is also good for the community,” says Binnie. “It costs three to four times less to help someone out of homelessness than it does to keep them in the system.”

Binnie says that there is an abundant amount of resources to help are available to help those in need.

“Make a connection, take action, build awareness, get involved and give back,” says Binnie.MustardSeedWEBJC Rougeau sorts through old winter jackets to donate to The Mustard Seed as part of his contribution to the #givehopeyyc campaign.

Photo by Kelsey Solway

As of Dec. 4, Twitter users were already taking to the campaign and having an impact on the cause.

@faulknerm84 said, “I helped a man get to drug rehab this morning.”

“We redirect leftover food to those in shelters on a twice weekly basis. Helping to pay it forward,” said @wwthehomeless.

@SherriDoell said, “I made a b-day cake & casserole for a homeless guy!”

JC Rougeau heard about the campaign on Twitter when one of his friends tweeted with the hashtag and decided to donate some winter jackets he had laying around.

“I don’t wear them anymore and I bet the people down at the Seed can use them,” says Rougeau. “It’s not a lot but it’s something.”

Social media users can follow the Mustard Seed on Twitter at twitter.com/mustardseedyyc and like them on Facebook at facebook.com/mustardseedab. Anyone posting or tweeting with the #givehopeyyc hashtag will be automatically entered into a weekly draw for prizes.

The Mustard Seed offers food, clothing and shelter to thousands of men and woman in need every year. By working with the community, they tackle poverty through initiatives such as affordable housing, helping find jobs and improving the health of people in need.

To learn more about what the Mustard Seed does, visit their website at, www.theseed.ca

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