Sleeping bag challenge aimed at helping the homeless get through winter

New challenge aims to use social media to collect sleeping bags for Kelowna's homeless population

  • Oct. 26, 2016 7:00 a.m.

Metro Community lead pastor Laurence East (right) introduces the One Bag Challenge

Hoping to build on the success of the One Bag Challenge which donated food to the Kelowna Food Bank, a Kelowna company has partnered with a local church group to kick off another challenge, asking businesses to donate sleeping bags to the homeless this fall.

The Film Factory, Metro Community as well as Grouse River kicked off the winter edition of the One Bag Challenge last week, asking local businesses to donate a sleeping bag and then challenge five other businesses to do the same.

EXTRA: 2016 homeless count says at least 233 homeless in Kelowna

The challenge is similar to one started by Kelowna mayor Colin Basran, which asked for food to be donated in a program that utilized social media to spread the word. This one however is asking businesses to jump in with a larger donation that will help those in need get through the winter months.

“We were so impressed with the impact of the One Bag Challenge,” said Jeff Myers, president of the Film Factory New Media Creative House. “So when we were looking for a way to make a difference in our community, we figured that we couldn’t do better than to follow in the mayor’s footsteps. Our hope is that the campaign will spread throughout the Okanagan and beyond. The more people who receive sleeping bags because of the One Bag Challenge, the better.”

At Metro Community, a church organization that is set to open a new location in downtown Kelowna next month, the group will keep track of and hand out sleeping bags to those in need. Lead pastor Laurence East said despite the best efforts of various groups in Kelowna, there are still homeless that will end up sleeping outside this winter.

“In our experience over the last decade there will be 15 to 20 people a night sleeping out in the cold,” he said. “It’s honestly a life or death critical situation. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter how many shelter beds we have—and we don’t have enough—there are some people that either elect to sleep outdoors or for various reasons they are barred from shelters and end up sleeping outside.”

The challenge is built around a video produced by the Film Factory that is being shared through the partnered organizations’ social media channels. Each one is challenging five businesses to donate a sleeping bag to Metro Community. Metro is currently located at Third Space Foundation in the Landmark 2 building where sleeping bags have begun to come in.

To issue the challenge, all a person needs to do is follow these steps:

1) share the video on social media

2) hashtag #OneBagChallenge and #PowerofFive

3) tag five businesses in their post

4) encourage those they’ve tagged to do the same

Grouse River is offering a 15 per cent discount on any one regular-priced sleeping bag to people who visit their Kelowna location to take part in this project and mentions the challenge.

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