Left to right Guitarist Dustin Olyan , Elyse Saunders and Peter Linseman
Elyse Saunders is a talented artist and humanitarian who believes that music is a great way to bring people together for a greater cause. Throughout her past elementary and high school years, Elyse saw many kids come to school without proper winter clothing and how much it would affect them socially and physically. After researching further, Elyse discovered the foundation and the dire need for winter coats in many communities was confirmed. “Health experts report that even a 2- degree drop in body temperature results in reduced heart rate, loss of coordination, and confusion. Adults cannot work effectively and children find it difficult to learn. For most, a warm coat solves the problem and for those living in poverty, it’s a luxury item.”
After researching and seeing the need for winter coats, Elyse came up with the idea to create an annual event and invite some of her music friends to perform at local venues. In return for great entertainment, Elyse would ask audience members to bring a winter coat and/or clothing as admission. In 2012, “Warm Coats Warm Hearts” was born and has now become an official annual benefit concert and coat drive, produced in conjunction with charitable organization www.OneWarmCoat.org and production company Music Mentor Productions. A national single release & video of the original song “Warm Christmas” http://youtu.be/9xz9gc0CE7w, written by Elyse Saunders and Peter Linseman, was inspired by the cause in 2012 and will be re-released each year for the annual “Warm Coats Warm Hearts” campaign. “Warm Christmas” is not only benefitting this campaign, it is also helping to entertain Canadian Troops around the world this year. “Warm Christmas” has been selected for the “Christmas From Home” compilation CD created by CMAO members OldToad & TheLady, which is sent to our Canadian troops stationed around the world! Elyse is in good company with additional tracks from Anne Murray, The Good Brothers, Jason McCoy, Tim Hicks, etc.
Last year was the first year for the “Warm Coats Warm Hearts” campaign and The Orbit Room in Toronto was the hosting venue. With only a month to organize, Elyse was able to collect 72 coats for children, youth & adults. With the generous support of local sponsor Martoni Coats & Jackets, 30 designer coats went to struggling youth at Eva’s Initiatives; perfect attire for a professional appearance when trying to get back into the work force. Martoni Coats & Jackets will be a returning sponsor. The first year was a great success. The local agencies Eva’s Initiatives http://www.evasinitiatives.com/2013/01/08/warm-coats-warm-hearts-delivers/ and Hope for Children Fund were very happy with the end results!
This year, “Warm Coats Warm Hearts” Benefit Concert will be held on Sun Nov 24th at hosting venue The Revival Bar in the new edition Stone Lounge, with a goal to raise 200 coats which will be distributed to a select group of agencies that Elyse felt were doing amazing things: Eva’s Initiatives (providing shelter for homeless and at-risk youth to get them off the streets permanently through services and programs), New Circles (providing clothing and more to families in need) and Jessie’s Centre (providing clothing, services, housing and more to teen mothers and their children.) The incredible magician Baldini will be the MC with performances by Elyse Saunders, Donna Ferra, Arlene Paculan, Kat Leonard, Kiri and Universal Music headliner Dane Hartsell.
We’re well into 2013 and with the cold winter upon us, Elyse and her team are carefully planning for this year’s event. She is also asking companies to donate items for a silent auction and for the “Warm Coats Warm Hearts” gift baskets that would include items like mitts, scarves, hats, mugs, wine, chocolate etc. There will also be Toronto Maple Leaf themed baskets, as well as Amsterdam Beer themed baskets provided by sponsor Amsterdam Brewery. Any company that can raise 10 gently used or new coats will also be well celebrated. In exchange for your kindness Elyse will automatically add your brand’s logo to the poster and promo. Elyse and Music Mentor Productions have a strong online social community. This event will be shared and has scheduled appearances on Rogers TV, Daytime, provincial and national print media, etc.
If you would be interested in donating to the cause, please contact Peter at 416-520-2356 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Warm Coats Warm Hearts” came from humble beginnings and one inspiring idea. Help us grow by coming out to support your community with Elyse Saunders and friends…your heart will thank you for it. See you there!