More people will be sleeping on the street in Castlegar Saturday night than usual. A group of people will be spending the night by the tracks in downtown Castlegar as part of a fundraiser to help raise money and awareness for the Castlegar Community Harvest Food Bank. They are hoping to help address poverty, hunger and homelessness in Castlegar.
Participants already include several city council members and an RCMP officer who will be at the tracks behind the Station Museum from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. but more people are welcome to join.
The event is part of a challenge between Castlegar and Trail, where a similar event is taking place, to see which community can raise the most funds. Those planning on spending the night are raising funds through pledges.
If you are not sleeping by the tracks, but still want to make a donation, feel free to drop off your monetary donation on the day of the event or any time at the Station Museum.
The food bank is presently in need of a financial boost. “Our numbers are up. With out money we are not able to provide any of the services we do,” said organizer Deb McIntosh. “Bring your money. We want to be able to continue to provide things like the shelter, emergency services… the services that we have been providing.”
Another way to support the cause is to show up for the chili cook-up between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. You can have a bowl of chili and a bun for a minimum donation of $5.
At 9 p.m. there will be a bonfire wiener roast and a chance to talk about issues that people living in poverty face. McIntosh emphasized that homeless looks different in Castlegar than it does in a big city. “Homelessness in Castlegar is real,” she said. “Ours are couch surfing and going from friend to friend… grown children who are still depending on their parents, because life is hard sometimes.”
“We need to help these people who are down on their luck,” continued McIntosh. “If everybody gave a little bit, then no one would have to go without.”