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Team RJ distributes 3,000 bed kits in 3 days!

Team RJ arrived in India on January 28, and from January 29 - 31, 2016 they handed out 3,000 bed kits to children in need. They traveled to areas around Belgaum, India in order to help kids in the area sleep better at night. The 3,000 bed kits were a special project that employees of Raymond James took on. They raised over $120,000 to pay for the bed kits. The team represents all of their colleagues back home in Canada who have been part of this project. Each bed kit contains items such as; a blanket, pillow, school bag and more, but perhaps the most precious item is the malaria net which is often used by an entire family. The nets help protect against malaria. Malaria is the third ranked killer of children according to the World Health Organization.

"I am very proud of the support and commitment everyone at Raymond James Ltd. has had to making sure 3,000 children in India can sleep better at night," said Paul Allison, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

Left to right: Kate Holmes (Mike Holmes wife), Mike Holmes, Senior Vice President, Operations, Diane Groot, Manager, Corporate Facilities & Sustainability Clark Linton, Portfolio Manager, Jennifer Gibson, Branch Administrator, Warren Wagstaff, Financial Advisor, Rose Allison (Paul Allison's Wife), Paul Allison, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

Day 1

Team Raymond James distributed 1,114 bed kits on their first of three distribution days. It was a first time experience for our brand new Sleeping Children around the World (SCAW) volunteers. The team described the experience as: "unforgettable," "amazing," and "truly heartwarming."

The team was greeted by hundreds of ecstatic, loud children - Jen Gibson likened the experience to how the Beatles must have felt meeting their adoring fans.

The children were a little shy after the initial "hellos," but just a few smiles from the team received glowing faces and giggles in return. The children sang their welcomes and recited abc's and numbers. The children were very excited to meet Team RJ and were ecstatic to play balloon volleyball and have their pictures taken. Team RJ then began to hand out the bed kits. It took a little bit of time to get into a rhythm but 1,114 children were able to sleep better after their first day's efforts.

Jen Gibson said, "It was a long day but thoroughly rewarding to see the girls in their beautiful new dresses and the boys proudly showing off their handsome outfits. Getting smiles for the photographs was easy!"

Day 2

The next stop on the Team RJ India tour was a school in Khanapur, a village 40km outside of Belgaum. Upon arrival the team blew bubbles with the children and handed out Canadian stickers. The children couldn't believe their luck!

The team had their distribution process down pat by day two and it went very smoothly. Team RJ was invited to the home of one bed kit recipient. The visit reinforced the positive impact the bed kits have. The team was moved by the love and sense of family that exists in challenging conditions. Their interactions with the people of India and the touching stories they heard made the entire team reflect on their efforts and reinforced what an amazing charity SCAW is.

Day 3

Mission accomplished!

The team distributed the final 1,000 bed kits; they accomplished their goal of handing out 3,000 in three days! Bravo!

The day three destination was a village in the jungle of Karnataka, which is 71 km from Belgaum. Children traveled from outside villages to receive a bed kit, some travelled as far as 70km! The children from the smaller villages were more reserved and cautious around the team at first, but they quickly changed that with balloons, beach balls and stickers, and playing games with the children.

Jen Gibson said, "These children and families who seem to have nothing have no wants because they don't know what there is to want. They are very appreciative and thankful for our gifts. This was a moving experience. We are so happy that we completed our objective, but sad to leave. It's a comfort to know that 3,000 children will now sleep well."

The team thanks the numerous local volunteers who spent three days helping with logistics to successfully distribute the bed kits.

Michael Holmes said, "This trip would not have been possible without the support of our families, friends and associates from Raymond James for allowing us this gift of giving."

We are very proud of all the work and effort that Team RJ has put into helping to make our world a better place to live, in partnership with SCAW, starting with the children in India who desperately need basic necessities.

The bed kits our team is handing out include: plastic ground mat, a Chadar (wool carpet), Sataranji (wool under blanket), blanket, pillow, pillow cover, mosquito net, polo shirt, sweater, t-shirt with collar, shorts, petticoat, frock, Churidar (3 piece dress), flip flops, raincoat, nail clippers, packing bag, school bag, school supplies (pens, pencils, crayons, sharpener, notebooks, eraser, geometry set). No portion of a bed kit donation is spent on administration. 100% reaches needy children between the ages of six and 12. All items in the bed kits that our colleagues have been distributing were sourced in India to support local industries.

Since 1970, when it was founded by Murray and Margaret Dryden, SCAW has raised over $23 million to provide bed kits for children in 33 countries. In 2009, SCAW reached its millionth child.

Paul Allison, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

Diane Groot, Manager, Corporate Facilities & Sustainability.

Jennifer Gibson, Branch Administrator.

Paul Allison, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer with Michael Holmes, Senior Vice President, Operations, and his wife Kate Holmes in the background.

For more information, you can contact SCAW by phone, by letter, or by e-mail.

For more information about SCAW and their unique charity that helps deserving children, click here.

Travelling to Kalthana

Our team next travels to Kalthana, to volunteer in the village Raymond James Ltd. adopted in 2014 with Free the Children.