BY JELANI GRANT
For the fourth Christmas in a row, Share The Love Project hosted a free charity event in Brampton for the homeless and less fortunate.
The event was held, between noon and 3 P.M., inside of Cheers Lounge, 18 Queen Street East, in Brampton. This year marked a milestone for the organization; their first indoor Christmas function since they began hosting charity events four years ago. For Christmas, the past three charity gatherings were hosted at Moss Park in the cold, but this didn’t hinder volunteers from serving hundreds of people and with the event moving indoors Marsh hoped for an even greater turnout with the help of additional promotions.
A free meal, catered by Gems Jerk, was provided for attendees along with Christmas gifts and clothes. Special guest volunteers included multi award winning reggae artist Lenn Hammond, Dj Wiz from Vybz 105 and Pastor David Green of Free For All Foundation.
Co-founded by FFAF board member Jaden Li Marsh, Share The Love donates their holidays to GTA residents in need of food, clothes, or simply friendly companionship. The project began after Marsh attended a charity event for the homeless with her friend and they realized how large the homeless population is. “I was just so moved,” she said, “you see homeless people here and there and don’t know how serious it is until you see such a large group coming together that are in need”.
For their first donation event, Marsh spread the word to her friends and family that she would be spending her Christmas giving clothes to those in need. The Christmas holidays are usually a more generous time, but in just four days Marsh managed to fill two SUVs with clothes. Following the success of the event, Marsh and her friends formed Share The Love and made the decision to provide whatever they could to the homeless on an annual basis.
Since then, Share The Love has received growing support quite recently, for their selfless holiday donations, from organizations such as Vybz 105 FM and Ruff Ryders Toronto rapper Dre Barrs gave Marsh thirty bags full of clothes for a clothing drive; Barrs came out himself to hand out clothes.
Marsh said they chose to donate for the holidays because those were the days most people miss their families and remember their past lives.
With continued encouragement from community members Marsh hopes to transform Share The Love into a program that could take homeless shelters a step further. She said she wants to build Share The Love into an organization that can offer the homeless clothes, food, job preparation workshops in addition to a hospitable place to live, where they can form daily routines and rebuild their lives. “I want to take it to the next level now, I want to be in a position to really impact their lives”, said Marsh.
Each event they plan costs at least $1000 out of their own pockets but they always manage to provide a meal and new clothes on holidays like Valentine’s Day, Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving or Canada Day. Though Marsh says Share The Love intends to apply for grants to help the project grow, she never made grant requests until now because they wanted to establish the fact that they are doing this to help, first and foremost. Anyone who is interested can donate directly to Free For All Foundation.