Kamloops trades businesses, led by a local man who has now organized his second fundraiser in seven months, have contributed more than $20,000, money that will be used by agencies in tackling the issue of youth homelessness.
On May 7, drivers in six trucks representing a half-dozen companies made their way from Riverside Park downtown to Clapperton Road on the North Shore, behind the United Way’s office at The Station building to drop off donation cheques.
Sher Holdings Crane, BTA Reliability, Cyclone Hydrovac, TVR, Molycop and Weir Minerals took part in the Caravan of Care fundraiser, with Jo Berry and Rick Chapman of RunClub in the escort car, from where they handed over a donation from RunClub and Runners Sole.
The funds are being split evenly between the United Way’s community funds — which help support groups such as the Canadian Mental health Association, Kamloops Sexual Assault Counselling Centre and Boys and Girls Club of Kamloops — and A Way Home Kamloops, the latter being an agency that focuses on helping homeless youths.
“It was very successful and heartfelt,” organizer Nathaniel Martin told KTW in an email regarding the fundraiser. “Many families and individuals are going to be helped by the generosity of these companies who pooled together their donations.”
In adherence with COVID-19 distancing protocols, donors drove by and dropped off their donations to United Way executive director Katie Neustater and A Way Home executive director Sadie Hunter, who were waiting with bags extended.
Also contributing donations, but unable to participate in the caravan, were Norcan Fluid Power and Lapper Security.
Four companies also contributed to the Caravan of Care’s online GoFundMe account — Tom Shumka from Kelowna's Global-PAM, Steve Prystie from Surrey's Polycorp Ltd. and Kamloops’ PRI and GH Innovations.
Between the delivered cheques and the GoFundMe account, the two non-profits will each receive about $10,000 as a total of $21,125 was received.
Neustater told KTW the United Way is overwhelmed with gratitude at the generosity, noting the fundraiser was a kind gesture given the financial strains of the pandemic. She said the agency doesn’t often have many fundraisers during the springtime, noting donations tend to decline during this time of year and campaign dollars have been down in 2021 compared to previous years.
“In this year in particular, to have these dollars show up for our community fund, which provide wraparound services for people who are vulnerable, was a tremendous and unexpected gift,” Neustater said.
Martin said both Neustater and Hunter expressed to him being taken by surprise that a fundraiser on their behalf was put together in full without any organizing required on their part.
“My hopes is it'll catch on here bigger next year and maybe other cities will get the bug and host their own caravan,” Martin said.
Last fall, Martin raised more than $4,000 for the Kamloops Sexual Assault Counselling Centre and the Canadian Mental Health Association through his Kamloops Cutober 2020 fundraiser, which saw him raise money with a pledge to allow his six-year-old daughter be his barber.
Martin, who works at Highland Valley Copper Mine near Logan Lake, plans to host the Cutober fundraiser again this year.