The Harvest Sunset Show and Shine raised money to help treat addictions in the community. - Image: Contributed

West Kelowna car show helps recovering addicts

The fourth annual Harvest Sunset Show and Shine drew a large crowd of car enthusiasts

By Mike Straus

The Harvest Sunset Show and Shine had its best showing yet this year, with over 80 classic vehicles exhibiting and close to 700 attendees last weekend in West Kelowna.

The car show, which has raised funds for Adult & Teen Challenge since last year, also featured door prizes, a silent auction, a bouncy castle, stories from Adult & Teen Challenge program graduates, and awards for vehicles in a variety of categories.

Darren Fedorak, an account representative with Bylands Nurseries and Vice Chair at Westside Alliance Church, organized the event which took place Sept. 23 to benefit Adult & Teen Challenge of British Columbia

“Initially the car show started as an event to get some car enthusiasts together and do something for the community,” said Fedorak. “Last year we decided to turn it into a fundraiser because the turnout kept getting larger and larger. We’d worked with Teen Challenge in the past, so we thought it was a natural fit, especially with the increase in addictions.”

British Columbia’s opioid crisis has received widespread media attention in recent months.

Statistics provided by the BC Coroners Service show that overdose deaths saw a sharp increase in the final quarter of 2016, peaking at 160 deaths in December. The average number of overdose deaths in BC has increased from approximately 70 per month in 2016 to over 130 per month this year. In April 2016, the provincial government declared a public health emergency in response to a sharp spike in overdose deaths linked to fentanyl.

Adult & Teen Challenge is a registered Christian charity that provides a 12-month faith-based addictions treatment program.

Adult & Teen Challenge BC says that it costs approximately $2,300 to $2,700 per bed per month to operate the program. Qualifying residents can receive income assistance from BC Housing up to $550 per month, with a $1,000 non-refundable intake fee paid by the resident.

Fedorak says that funds raised by the Harvest Sunset Show and Shine are being donated directly to Adult & Teen Challenge BC in order to sponsor program participants.

“The program isn’t cheap. They have 13 guys in the program right now, and they’re bringing on three or four more in the next couple of weeks. They have room for up to 20 at a time.”

Fedorak says that an important part of combatting drug abuse in the Okanagan involves raising awareness, and he’s correct. Addiction-related stigma is a significant barrier to recovery for drug abusers, as it can prevent the development of positive social connections. A 2008 meta-analysis by Norbert Scherbaum and Michael Specka published in the International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research found that a lack of social support better predicts relapse than criminal history.

Says Fedorak: “The next step (for combatting drug abuse) is the awareness factor. To be able to start talking about it and making it part of daily conversation would go a long way. ”

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