One blanket can make a huge difference!
by Kevin Mills - Mission City Record
Posted Dec 18, 2015 at 9:00 AMGregory Ould and his son Ben, both from Mission, are co-founders of the Blanket BC Society.
When Gregory Ould offered a blanket to a homeless man back in 2005, he didn’t realize he was about to change his life’s focus.
Ould is the co-founder, along with his son Ben, of Blanket BC Society, an organization based in Mission that collects and distributes blankets to those in need.
Ould recalled that in October of 2005, he came out of a movie theatre in Vancouver and noticed a man sitting in an alcove.
He approached the stranger and asked if there was anything he could do to help him.
“He said, ‘I could use a blanket to survive the night.’ ”
It was the “survive the night” comment that “floored” Ould.
“I never thought about it like that before,” he said.
Ould went to a local store and purchased the warmest blanket he could find.
“It made me feel good,” he explained.
When Ould got home, his 22-month-old son Ben was still awake.
While he knows he was really just talking out loud to himself, Ould reiterated the story to Ben.
“But he acknowledged me,” said Ould, who then realized he and his son could do something more to help.
He began to collect blankets to give away to shelters. In the first year he managed to acquire a modest amount, 67 blankets in all. But word spread and support grew.
By the third year, in a three-month period, they collected 15,000 blankets.
Now the society has blossomed into a year-round initiative composed of between 100 and 200 volunteers (blanketeers, he calls them) working throughout the year.
When he was five, Ould’s son Ben began to lend a hand.
“That’s when I really started to help,” he said. “I’d go out and help deliver blankets.”
The father/son team helped take the society to the next level.
To date, the Blanket BC Society has collected more than 200,000 blankets, which they donate to more than 75 shelters across the province.
“A lot of people in Mission don’t realize that we are headquartered here,” said Ould.
Now he needs to find a storage space in Mission or Abbotsford to house the blankets before they get distributed.
Recently, Ben and Gregory were honoured by the BC Country Music Association. On Oct. 25, the father/son duo received the group’s Humanitarian of the Year award for their work with Blanket BC.
While both Gregory and Ben enjoyed the recognition, they say awards are not why they volunteer their time.
“I just want to help them survive the night because that one day could change their lives,” said Gregory.
For more on the Blanket BC Society, visit the website at blanketbc.org.
Bring your blanket on Canada Line
BY JENNIFER MOREAU, BURNABY NOW November 25th and 26th 2011
You may remember him from an article in the Burnaby NOW ages ago. In 2007, Mission resident Gregory Ould was featured in our paper for his annual blanket drive. Greg collects blankets, with the help of his seven-year-old young son Ben, to donate to groups helping the homeless. Since 2006, they've collected more than 35,000 blankets, and the newest addition to the family, three-year-old Emma, also helps out.
This year, Greg is taking his blanket drive efforts onto the SkyTrain line and holding a collection on Friday, Nov. 25th and 26th
Throughout the day, people can bring a blanket on the SkyTrain and donate it to his group Blanket B.C.
Look for signs on where to drop off your donation or ask a SkyTrain attendant for the nearest drop off station. For more info, visit www.blanketbc.org
The family is always looking for volunteers to help.
METRO VANCOUVER FEATURES BLANKET BC SOCIETY
Published: November 24, 2009 5:20 a.m.
Last modified: November 24, 2009 1:22 a.m.
A Vancouver man and his son are holding a blanket donation drive next month with the goal of collecting as many as 10,000 for Vancouver-area shelters.
Since 2006, Greg Ould and his son Ben, 7, have been collecting surplus blankets and giving them to missions and shelters, all under the name Blanket BC.
This year, they’ll be outside Canada Line stations on Dec. 4.
Ould said he hopes to collect 5,000 blankets on the first day and another 5,000 later.
The blanket drive started when Ould encountered a homeless man and asked if he could help.
“Basically his comment was, ‘All I need is a blanket to survive the night,’ and it was just that statement, to survive, that prompted me to help, and I have been helping ever since,” Ould said.
That year, 2006, he collected 5,000 blankets.
In 2007, Blanket B.C. collected 16,000.
Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce 2008 Award for Blanket BC Society
“The Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce the deserving slate of Nominees for our 2008 Business Excellence Awards. The Nominees’ were recognized at a sold out luncheon at the Westwood Plateau Golf and Country Club on October 24th. There are six award categories this year.” – TriCities News
Blanket BC, Greg Ould - Newsmaker Nominee
Iain Black, MLA, Port Coquitlam supports Blanket BC Society
Iain was delighted to celebrate a $2,500 grant from the Ministry of Employment and Income Assistance to Greg Ould from Blanket BC. The funds will go towards purchasing blankets for the homeless and organizations that help in-need individuals and families. April 22, 2008.
Making a difference
Blankets needed for homeless
By Christina Myers
Staff Reporter, Burnaby Now
Gregory Ould is working on a tight deadline - and he needs people in Burnaby to help him reach his goal.
Ould is in the process of collecting more than 2,000 blankets - 2,007 blankets, to be precise - for homeless people. He's just topped 1,200, but he needs to get another 800 before the end of February.
"That's the goal I set, was 2,007 blankets by the end of the month," he said.
This is the second year he's collected the blankets. Last year, on his first effort, he managed to bring in 72. Now he's set his sights higher, and the task of getting more donations, collecting them and distributing them is a big one.
But, as far as Ould is concerned, it's well worth the effort because he knows what kind of impact it can have.
"I was coming out of a movie theatre, and I encountered this man," he recalls.
Though Ould says he's not usually the type to chat up a stranger, this man "looked like he needed somebody to talk to."
"So I asked him, 'How's it going, how can I help you?' and he said, 'I need a blanket to get through the night.'"
Ould says the moment really affected him and sparked his desire to do what he could to help.
"Imagine if you put the shoe on the other foot - what if you're the one who's out there, and you're trying to survive and you just need a blanket to get through the night or some food," he said. "Even just giving a smile to somebody is valuable, to acknowledge that you see them."
Ould works for Bell Canada, and, this year, his employer offered to help out, allowing donations to be dropped at Bell store locations for Ould to collect.
"That's a big help, to have that," he said.
On his time off, Ould collects the blankets from the stores, then brings them to shelters and organizations in that particular community, unless a donor has indicated a specific location they'd like the blanket to go to.
A Coquitlam resident, Ould says even his three-year-old son has gotten into the spirit of the drive and helps him with the project.
He's hoping people in Burnaby will also back his project and help him reach his goal.
To find out more or to contact Ould, see www.blanketbc.org
published on 02/17/2007