Over 150 community members took to the streets of Downtown Kelowna to participate in the Gospel Mission’s ninth Strides to End Homelessness run on Sunday.
— Daniel Taylor (@DanTaylorKCN) March 1, 2020
This year the Mission’s goal is to raise $55,000 to help residents sheltering outside. All proceeds will support the Gospel Mission’s emergency shelter, as well as its women’s transitional house Harmony Ministries. Besides shelter, the funds will go towards meals, outreach, and individual wellness plans among other things.
The Gospel Mission’s development officer Sonja Menyes said her favourite part of the event is seeing members of the shelter integrating with the rest of the community.
“It’s great to see the people that we serve come in and join us,” said Menyes.
“You won’t necessarily look around and know (who they are), but there are a lot of people here from our shelter that use our services that are participating. So, it’s not them and us it’s the whole community.”
Participants started at Laurel Packinghouse at 3 p.m. on Sunday and had the option to go for a two or five-kilometer walk or a ten-kilometer run.
The Gospel Mission’s executive director Randy Benson said the two-kilometer walk was added this year so families with younger children can join in as well.
“We’ve found that many youngsters have great compassion for people living without homes. By doing a bit of fundraising, it is a way they can make a difference,” he said.
By 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, the event had already raised over $47,000 of the goal of $55,000, Menyes said the goal would not have been made possible without the support of the community and the sponsors of the event.
”We are so grateful for all the support,” said Menyes.
“We’ve got a ton of sponsors that made this possible and we are so grateful for everyone that participated and raised funds.”