photo, donations for the REALTORS Care® Blanket Drive MaryAnne Connor (left), founder NightShift Street
Ministries, and REALTOR® Sheila Potter get ready to fill
NightShift’s clothing bins thanks to the REALTORS® Care
Blanket Drive.

“I’ve seen volunteers take the coats off their backs to give people. The need is that strong.”

Reverend MaryAnne Connor is the founder and president of NightShift Street Ministries in downtown Surrey. It’s a Christian-based organization that runs entirely on donations and volunteers and has the support of over 35 multi-denominational churches in the city.

For five years, it has been one of the largest recipients of the REALTORS® Care Blanket Drive in the Lower Mainland, receiving on average 400 bags of clothing, from gently-used winter coats right down to bundles of new socks and underwear, in addition to blankets and sleeping bags.  

NightShift operates a 17-foot mobile soup kitchen and clothing distribution service from their parking lot at 10635 King George Blvd. Seven days a week, Connor and dozens of her volunteers serve soup, stew or chili, and sandwiches and coffee to 100 to 150 homeless or working poor people every night. Only about 20 or so of those people are regulars, the rest are new clients who hear about the service through word of mouth.

“They have no home. They have no clothes. They live on the street and when something smells too bad or wears out, they throw it out. Yes, they have problems but we’re not here to judge, we’re here to help.”

Connor says the back of their cube van acts as their clothing depot, “Our van is virtually empty right now but with Blanket Drive donations, we’ll hopefully have enough to get us right through the winter.”

For the homeless, NightShift looks specifically for donations of new socks and underwear and gently used toques, gloves, boots, sweaters, sweat pants, hoodies, winter coats – for both men and women – and of course, blankets and sleeping bags. For the working poor, donations of all types of clothing are appreciated.

For more information about NightShift, go to www.nightshiftministries.org.