Aunt Leah's Place

PRESS RELEASE: Aunt Leah’s Trees (2017)

How Buying a Christmas Tree Helps Provide Housing for Homeless Foster Youth & Homeless Moms and Babies

VANCOUVER, BC – On November 24th, Aunt Leah’s annual Tree Lots will open in five municipalities Vancouver, North Vancouver, Burnaby, New West and Coquitlam. One hundred per cent of profits from the lots go towards housing for vulnerable youth leaving foster care and young moms and their children.

Marcia’s Story

Marcia is a young mom whose life has been turned around by the help she got from Aunt Leah’s.

She  came to the Thresholds program—a unique program that provides housing and support for homeless moms and their children-  on a cold day in February of 2015. The staff listened to Marcia’s story and assured her that this was the place she needed to be.

Marcia moved into Thresholds a few days later.

Today Marcia is a Peer Mentor for Threshold’s current and past moms. Marcia and her youngest daughter, who she is now reunited with, are participating in the second stage of Aunt Leah’s Thresholds Program. Marcia will continue in her role as a Peer Mentor and an amazing mom!

“Without a supportive home to go to, these moms—many of whom were foster kids themselves– would be homeless and lose their babies to the foster care system,” says Sara Stewart, Executive Director of Aunt Leah’s. “We are trying to stop this cycle.”

It is estimated that half of BC foster youth will experience homelessness. “Currently, BC’s foster care system is not only a pipeline to future homelessness, but also a pipeline from and back to itself, due to early and unplanned pregnancies. Aunt Leah’s has responded to this crisis by helping young women in need – who we know can succeed when surrounded by supportive allies and resources– thus preventing another generation of children & babies from entering the system.” say Stewart.

Aunt Leah’s started selling Christmas trees in the 1990s when government funding was cut. It has turned into a viable social enterprise and Christmas tree sales have grown every year.” For a lot of families an Aunt Leah’s Christmas tree is a cherished part of their Christmas tradition.” Says Angelina Oates, Tree Lot Coordinator.

Purchasing one of Aunt Leah’s Trees for Christmas can help prevent these vulnerable youth and young moms like Marcia from becoming homeless.

www.auntleahs.org/trees

 Aunt Leah’s Place was chosen by Charity Intelligence as a Top Pick in their survey of Canadian Charities. Charity Intelligence researches charities to help donors decide where to direct their giving.

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For interviews contact Mairi Campbell 778-885-5300; e-mail: mairi.campbell@personae.ca

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