The final tally is in and December’s Campout to End Youth Homelessness raised a record amount of money for A Way Home Kamloops to support efforts to provide supportive housing for vulnerable youth in the city.
The event led to $150,000 being raised.
Campout to End Youth Homelessness was held on the second weekend of December, with the 2020 event happening just a week after the sudden death of A Way Home founder Katherine McParland, who was 33. The youth, alongside A Way Home program, manager Kira Cheeseborough, created heartfelt pieces dedicated to McParland’s legacy.
Due to pandemic-related gathering restrictions, most participants camped in their own yards and raised funds online.
Jason Fawcett, president of Kelson Group, camped out with daughter Celia and emerged as the top individual fundraiser, bringing in more than $23,000.
“We were very happy to participate in A Way Home’s Campout event to raise funds for the important work A Way Home does to help youth avoid homelessness,” Fawcett said. “It was a cold night, but a great experience for us to better understand how difficult it is not to have a warm place to sleep. We had great support in our fundraising efforts from friends, family and companies that work with Kelson Group. We were overwhelmed with the generosity that helped A Way Home raise a record amount.”
Funds raised through the event will support Safe Suites, which provides 24/7 supportive housing to six youth, ongoing programs for youth across the community and future projects that will aim to provide supportive housing for even more vulnerable youth in Kamloops.
Corporate Campout champion Teck Highland Valley Copper recognize the value in youth achieving life skills, education, employment readiness and housing stability as a necessity in ending youth homelessness.
“Especially prevalent during this COVID-19 pandemic, vulnerable youth face an increased risk of homelessness and malnutrition. We commend A Way Home Kamloops for their diverse programming and resources to eliminate barriers and promote good health and wellbeing,” said Jason Sangha, HVC’s interim general manager.
“Collaborating with A Way Home Kamloops through their fundraiser provided an opportunity to bring awareness about our vulnerable youth in the community and staff, volunteers, campers and supporters should feel proud of their accomplishment of raising awareness and funds to help end youth homelessness.”
Cheeseborough said she is grateful to the community for its compassion and kindness during a tragic time for the organization and youth.
“Though Katherine's passing left a gaping hole in our community, we supported one another by filling this hole with our love and appreciation for Katherine,” Cheeseborough said. “This is especially true of the youth who showed such strength in persevering in Katherine's honour. They all inspired me.”
“In her life, she was a beacon of light that moved us all into action. She spread inspiration, love and hope boundlessly to the world. In her passing, we've come together to ensure her light continues bringing hope for future generations of youth. Thank you to everyone who supported her life's work and our continued mission to ending and preventing youth homelessness. Katherine's legacy is one of an angel — a legacy that will continue to create change for lifetimes to come."
Campout committee member Patti Phillips said the committee is grateful for donations given by the community.
“We know Katherine would also have been so thankful. Our youth go through so many struggles, both mentally and physically,” Phillips said. “These donations will help give them the support they need to be able to live productive, healthy lives.”
Donors and sponsors are listed at awayhomekamloops.com.