Baby, It’s Cold Outside: BungoBox Vancouver Warmed Things Up with First United Church

Every year First United Church in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES) runs a campaign to collect warm clothing such as coats and socks for those living in poverty, or near poverty, in what is known as “Canada’s poorest postal code.” And, for the second year in a row, Kobchai (Chai) Phadoemchit, Vancouver BungoBox owner, has made it his mission to actively collect and donate to the cause.

Chai encouraged anyone who rented BungoBoxes from October-February to set aside clothing or household items that they would otherwise be throwing out or recycling while packing up. When Chai picked up his customers’ BungoBoxes post-move, he also picked up the items that they have set aside and brought them to First United for distribution to Vancouver’s most needy. This year Chai included one free BungoBox with rental for this initiative, making it even easier for customers to participate.

First United staff member Heather Forbes noted the impact that BungoBox had on donations this year. “We were really blown away by the generosity of BungoBox. In the winter months, a warm coat and good socks make a huge difference in the lives of our community members. It’s also great to partner with a group that is so committed to environmental justice – which is something we view as being part and parcel with First United’s social justice mission.”

Chai’s customers have been really happy with the program, too; they like that they do not need to make their own trips to a thrift store to donate, they like that they are producing less waste, and most importantly, they are happy to be involved in a good cause.

More than 500 people access First United’s services daily. This year, BungoBox Vancouver was able to deliver 48 boxes of warm clothing and household goods, helping stock both the thrift store and emergency clothing program. Thank you, Vancouver, for helping us help those most in need this winter.