VPD’s ‘We Care’ Blankets – Protecting & Connecting with Vulnerable Citizens – Vancouver Police Foundation
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VPD’s ‘We Care’ Blankets – Protecting & Connecting with Vulnerable Citizens

With unprecedented cold temperatures in Vancouver earlier this winter and chilly temperatures in the city again this week, a new program we funded in 2021 came to life at just the right time. Spearheaded by VPD Constable Thomas Nguyen, the We Care blankets program provides VPD officers with thousands of blankets – both heavy duty wool blankets and foil mylar emergency blankets – to hand out to individuals in distress.

“The We Care blankets program is important because it provides our frontline officers with easy access to brand new packaged blankets that can be used to provide warmth and comfort to individuals who need it most in a variety of situations,” explains Cst. Nguyen.

“The blankets can be used to comfort a lost senior who was found by police after been wandering around the street all night; they can be given to those experiencing homelessness in the frigid cold where shelters are not an option; or to provide some warmth to an individual experiencing a medical emergency while waiting for an ambulance arrive.”

Since November approximately 1,000 blankets have been handed out by attending VPD patrol officers. The majority were distributed during the extreme cold weather at the end of December to those in the downtown eastside community experiencing homelessness. Many blankets, however, have also been given out across the entire City of Vancouver, as homelessness has no boundaries. There are still approximately 500 more blankets to be distributed this winter.

“Most of the blanket recipients have quickly expressed great appreciation and some are occasionally surprised by the kind offering from our frontline officers,” adds Cst. Nguyen.

In addition to being a kind and caring gesture, the We Care program also seeks to build and strengthen the relationship and trust between VPD officers and members of the homeless population. It important that vulnerable individuals know that the police are their allies, not their enemies. The blankets are readily available in the trunks of dozens of patrol cars which makes them quick and easy to hand out to those who need them. All Vancouver Community Policing Centres also received blankets for their volunteers to distribute as well.

This initiative also sets an important example to everyone that extending compassion and kindness to Vancouver’s homeless population is vital.

“The blankets have a strong impact on the community we serve because although the blanket in itself is only a small offering to provide some comfort those who need it, the relationship and trust that can be formed from it can go a long way.”

 


This program was generously funded by Peter Wall. To make a donation to support programs like this, please donate online or call us at 604.717.3700. Gifts of all sizes can make a difference.