A Western student-led team is reaching beyond campus to raise money in support of the community’s most vulnerable residents amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Kind Collective gathers used and vintage clothing, accessories and other items through contactless pickup, drop-off and shipment and then sells them through Instagram, Facebook, and Poshmark. In addition to clothing, the group also accepts monetary donations through a GoFundMe page.
All funds raised are sent directly to Mission Services of London, which provides shelter, food, clothing and support services through five local branches.
The funds support the mission’s pandemic relief measures, including additional housekeeping staff, direct client support, personal protective equipment for staff and clients, and essential supplies for daily living and sanitation.
Additionally, the Mission kitchen teams have expanded services to include meal delivery to clients. The Kind Collective funds will also help in the preparation of meals and the purchase of ingredients, take-out containers and grocery store gift cards for those who receive outreach services.
“We are grateful for the Kind Collective’s initiative and support of neighbours in need, and are touched they would think of our clients seeking help here,” said Ericka Ayala Ronson, Director of Development and Communications with Mission Services of London.
Many individuals experiencing homelessness are among the most vulnerable to the virus, due to compromised immune systems and chronic health conditions. Kind Collective organizers say it only made sense to come together to help during such a devastating time.
“As the streets remain empty, it can be difficult for individuals with unstable living conditions to find the means to stay independent. Many are looking to local shelters for relief,” said Jessie Tu, a third-year Medical Sciences student. “Shelters are facing high demands for accommodation and provisions during a time when the donation influx is not as steady.”
Tu co-founded the Kind Collective with fellow Medical Sciences students Emily Sodhi and Brady Park and University of British Columbia student Aditya Rao.
Operating across London, Waterloo and the Great Toronto Area, the group surpassed its original fourth-month goal of raising $500 in just over a week. They have since upped that goal to $4,000 by the end of the year
“We have been met with overwhelming support,” Tu said. “While there remains uncertainty regarding how long current conditions will last, we will continue our fundraising efforts through August and, if necessary, into the new school year.
“We would love to thank our Western and London communities who have supported us thus far. The team is so humbled by the acts of generosity.”