Three years ago Andrea Peyton took a friend’s tragedy and turned it into something great – Weehelp. She created a non-profit organization that helps the children at the Stollery Children’s Hospital. When Andrea found out that a friend had lost their two year old son to leukaemia, she knew that she wanted to do something to help other families working through similar struggles.
For Andrea it was not enough to simply make a one-time donation or do one clothing drive – she knew she wanted to make an impact. So instead she developed her own fundraiser for the Stollery. Weehelp collects new and gently used children’s items including toys, clothes, shoes, furniture and books, and refurbishes them. Those items are then sold at pop-up “Tot Shops”. One hundred percent of the proceeds made at these sales go to the Stollery Children’s Hospital. Since their first sale in 2013, Weehelp has raised around $40,000 for the Stollery. “You can see people’s excitement about the sales. I will have people come up to me and give me a hug and thank me for what Weehelp is doing. That really makes you feel good about giving back, and about how you’re affecting people’s lives.”
Andrea says that Weehelp has come a long way in a very short time. When she first came up with the idea, she was single handedly collecting all of the donations herself. “Every Tuesday night I would go through Kijii and email anyone who was selling children’s items. I’d ask them if they were willing to donate their leftover items. Then I’d spend the next week going to pick up the items.” In a candid moment Andrea admits that she must have looked very strange to her neighbours – a woman with no children carrying dozens of car seats back and forth from her car. Andrea says her mother has always been a huge help, spending hours ironing thousands of baby clothes. “There’s no way I could do this without her.”
When she is collecting donations, Andrea says that the number one thing she hears from parents is that “they have way too much stuff for their kids”, and that they are always thrilled because this is an easy way for them to support the Stollery if they are not able to make monetary donation. “There are so many people who want to tell their story about why the Stollery is important to them, and why they want to give to Weehelp. There are some incredible stories – some are heartbreaking, and some are happy.”
Now Andrea is thrilled to have help from Happy Nappy Cloth Diaper Service – they do all of the donation pickups so that Andrea can devote her time to spreading the word and planning the pop up sales. Andrea says Happy Nappy Cloth Diaper Service has “completely saved me.”
Andrea says that she has seen so much good come from Weehelp, which is what feeds her passion to put the time into it. She has the opportunity to work with the Stollery on a regular basis, and says that “they are supportive in any way possible, and they always make you feel like a million dollar donor.”
Weehelp may have come a long way, but Andrea makes it clear that there is still a lot she would like to do with the organization. She says she would love to keep it growing, and that her dream would be to have a storefront. When asked how someone could get involved with Weehelp, Andrea explained that they are always in need of volunteers to help out with their pop up “Tot Sales.” She says you can also check out one of their sales.
Andrea firmly believes that it is important for people to get involved in their community, and to support local non-profits and charities. We asked her for advice on how someone can take an idea and turn it into something, the way that she did. Her response was “I would tell them you have to find something you are passionate about, put everything into it, and see what happens.”