With just over an hour to go before the start of Kelowna Gospel Mission’s eighth Strides to End Homelessness fundraiser, the $50,000 goal was only a few thousand dollars away from being met.
The fundraiser invited individuals or teams to make donations and partake in a five kilometer walk or a 10 km run throughout downtown Kelowna to help bring hope to some of the people who are in need in Kelowna.
First time participant, Carolyn Hawes, and her team of students from Okanagan College felt it was time to join in on the Mission’s efforts to help those in need.
“We have a volunteer committee that tries to help out the community in a local way,” said Hawes. “We’ve put together support bags, which are all the students collecting items for the shelters. We’ve raised a little bit of money and we’re really proud (to help).”
“The most important thing is that (people) have an insight into what’s in their community, and the help that local people need in their community,” said Hawes. “I think about all the nights some homeless people might spend outside, or maybe not getting a healthy meal, so I think it’s a great organization (and cause).”
Executive director of the Gospel Mission, Randy Benson was happy to see the numbers going up in the Mission’s eighth year hosting the fundraiser.
“We’ve got 237 walkers registered, but we could have about 250, and there are about 25 teams. The money raised goes towards our operations and our women’s program, but I think more importantly it’s become a real exciting community event for people to come down and get involved,” said Benson.
“An other great thing, is that because we do it here (at the Mission), we have several of own guests that are walking with us, so it gives our community an opportunity to get to know the people that we help serve.”
As the Mission grew with participants, the fundraising grew closer to it’s goal of $50,000.
Benson knows the money will go a long way, but the Mission values more what the donations mean to the community and to the people in need.
“It supports our whole goal and purpose which is to take people from hopelessness to hope, and this is community involvement to continue to propel us towards that goal,” said Benson.
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