'Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.
If one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,"
but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?'
James 2: 15-16
In February 2017, 7 cold and tired volunteers slept in their cars or on the floor of St. John’s Anglican Church, getting a tiny taste of what life is like every day for thousands of homeless Canadians.
This one night, the first ever Long, Long Night of Hope, was a leap of faith to say the least. It started when one person , Flo Legebokow, said our church needed to do more to help the homeless in our community. Jean Welsh was already helping with the Thursday lunch program for the homeless, at St. Andrews Church, but St. John’s did not have a formal program going on. Donna Lawrence came up with the plan: use crowd-funding on social media to raise money, and then have volunteers sleep in their cars to raise awareness of the high number of homeless who actually sleep in their vehicles every day.
No one expected us to make much – maybe a few hundred dollars, at most a couple of thousand. The volunteers reached out to The Lookout Housing and Health Society’s shelter in North Vancouver to secure a home for whatever meager donations they could collect. The Lookout Society team said later, they loved the enthusiasm but did not expect a lot of money to be raised.
But those 7 volunteers had heart, determination, and faith. They pushed ahead with their fundraising, using a crowd-funding platform and sharing posts on Facebook, twitter, email and more. And after almost 2 months of fundraising, they had raised $10,600. It was a miracle.
(Another $1000 came in from Rogers Communications Partnership, Donna’s long-time employer.)
Returning in February 2018, The Long, Long Night of Hope gained momentum. More participants signed up, including members of St. Catherine’s Anglican Church, as well as North Vancouver-Lonsdale MLA Bowinn Ma. These awesome volunteers chased down friends, family, business contacts, and anyone else who would listen! The result: another $19,000 went to the Lookout Society shelter.
Now we are back! Looking for more participants, looking for corporate sponsorship and local business involvement. We want to keep building this fundraiser, bigger and bigger every year, involving more churches and supporting more homeless shelters. We won’t stop until we finally find a solution for homelessness.
You can join us! Sign up for free, create your donation page on our site, and start fundraising. Every dollar counts! Your friends, family and co-workers will be happy to support you!
Join with your son or daughter – raise money together and camp out in your car together. It’s a great way to teach them social responsibility, and have some fun while you are at it!
Join with your friends! Create a team, set a team goal, and challenge each other! Set up bake-sales, silent auctions, or just put donation jars on your desk! The possibilities are endless, and the rewards are immense!
Are you ready! Then let’s go!