Last night, 39 local executives, community leaders and celebrities slept outside in solidarity with the hundreds of young people who call Vancouver’s streets home, to raise funds for Covenant House Vancouver’s Crisis Program.
Bob Lenarduzzi (President, Vancouver Whitecaps), Dennis Skulsky (President & CEO, BC Lions), Interior Designer Jillian Harris, and several local media personalities were joined by 35 other sleepers who together raised $385,374 for our Crisis Program. The lead fundraiser, Sheldon Vance, was once a client of Covenant House, and kicked off the campaign with a gift of $25,000 which was followed by an additional $28,000 donated by private donations.
The evening began with the participants sitting down to a wonderful dinner prepared by Covenant House’s kitchen staff (who prepare over 100,000 meals each year). Then, the sleepers participated in roundtable discussions with Covenant House youth who shared their personal experiences and provided tips for braving the elements.
Unlike previous years which were below freezing, last night was very wet. Of the 39 sleepers, 6 stayed out the entire night, soaked right through. Whitecaps President Bob Lenarduzzi slept out for the 3rd time and commented that the rain made it a totally different experience.
After waking up this morning (many didn’t get much sleep), the participants acknowledged that sleeping outside for one night does not compare to what it is really like for youth who must do so night after night, some while holding down a job and going to school. The sleepers did however, get a glimpse into experiencing the cold and wet, feeling exposed and vulnerable out in the open.
A huge thank you to all of our sleepers!