Just a Warm Movement
If you follow us on social media, you have probably seen this photo.
You might have also read the CBC article about Whitehorse that we've been sharing as far and wide as possible! It's because we are proud. Proud that Whitehorse got some of his story out there, proud of his kindness, and proud that you provided a warm place for him to sleep so he has the energy to journey all over Winnipeg offering his assistance to anyone who needs it.
If you haven’t read the article, Whitehorse is a regular at Just a Warm Sleep (JAWS). Just a Warm Sleep is exactly that- an emergency warming centre where anyone can come and have access to just a warm sleep (and a bathroom, tampons, etc.). It’s just the basics but luckily our three day time spaces can offer our sleepers more. There are some regulars who have been with us since we opened, and its been a long and overwhelmingly rewarding journey together since January 2017. You can read more about how the centre got started here.
JAWS wouldn't even be open if it weren't for the generosity of Augustine United Church who shares their space with us for the cold nights. They are motivated by their faith and, like us, believe JAWS to be an important part of helping those in our neighbourhood. They are hosting Al Simmons for a fundraising concert coming up March 3! We hope you can join us for some laughs and good times. You can get your tickets here.
Our second year began with a major challenge, but we persevered and made sure that we didn't close, and that people had somewhere to go. 2018 ended with a bittersweet send off, with big hopes for the next year.
That brings us to 2019, our best year yet in so many ways! We have grown and can now support more people and are open every night to make sure we are there for Winnipeggers who need us. Read about how great this year will be here.
As I'm writing this, our Beat the Cold winter triathalon is wrapping up and... wow! Read here about the amazing impact this event will have and how much fun it was for those who raced!
Our story so far has one common denominator, our incredible donors and volunteers. We rely on your support for all the services we offer and would not exist if it weren't for this support. There is no way that Whitehorse would have been able to help so many people if he weren’t rested. And you saw how many people he touched just in this one day. Imagine how many people he is able to help everyday because he has the energy from a good sleep and willingness to spread your support that gave him that. The donations we get don’t only help our sleepers, but they go much further and help many others in Winnipeg. Even Whitehorse’s positive attitude and greeting could have helped a student downtown who just needed a smile and positive nudge during stressful exam season. This ripple effect that Whitehorse can have in our community is the same ripple effect of your support. A night of Just a Warm Sleep costs $250 to operate. Not many people are able to donate that full amount, so for $10 you can make sure just one person sleeps well tonight.
We feel the ripple effect of our volunteers who do so much for our community and make people feel welcome in our spaces. They have such big hearts- you can read why some of our volunteers do it here. Our volunteers motivate us to constantly do better and do more for our community.
It took about a month since opening this year on Jan. 1 for word to spread that we're here again, but since February began, we have been full almost every night. This is awesome because it means we are able to keep as many people warm as we can during the cold winter here.
We feel the ripple effects all season long. From the amazing turnout at Beat the Cold, to sleepers telling their friends about us and bring more people in to the space. From our volunteers collectively contributing 312 hours to JAWS so far this year, to Whitehorse making someone's day better with his positive attitude.
We can feel it. And we are loving this feeling!