Underwear philanthropists come to Ottawa

SEE VIDEO http://www.ottawasun.com/2011/10/03/underwear-philanthropists-come-to-ottawa

Boxers or briefs?

Brent King and Robb Price are used to strangers asking that question.

After all, they’re the men behind the third annual GotGinch Cross-Canada Underwear Drive.

“We’ll look at something different for next year, maybe. But for now, it’s tighty whities,” said King, after arriving and unloading boxes at the Ottawa Mission Monday.

And these Calgary-based dudes are on a mission for the Mission and nine other homeless shelters across the country: Delivering 35,000 pairs of underwear in nine days.

Each year, the donation keeps growing.

“It started with, I think, 2,500 pairs, then 3,000. Now we’re at 3,500 pairs of underwear, and that’s going to last a long time at the Mission,” said shelter spokeswoman Shirley Roy.

The idea was born, King said, after approaching a homeless shelter called the Mustard Seed in Calgary and finding out underwear is in demand.

That need, he learned, is felt from coast to coast.

“I wanted to try to solve a problem rather than simply writing a cheque,” said King, who’s an engineer.

And they’re cruising in style, pushing a CanaDream motor home.

“We load it right to the rafters with underwear. This year, because we have so much underwear, we had to pull a trailer for the first part of the journey, which we dropped off in Regina,” he said.

Last year, fellow entrepreneur Price joined King.

Price, with a public relations background, founded DeliverGood.org.

It’s a free online tool pairing charities and non-profits in North America, “so charities have online live wish lists that anybody can get on to and see what’s needed in their area,” said King.

The pair has two cities left: Montreal, and Halifax.

When they get there, the underwear tally will be 90,000.

“We’re looking forward to breaking the 100,000 Ginch barrier next year,” said King.

@ottawasunkroche

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