The annual Homeless Action Week in Vancouver started on 7 October and will end on Saturday, 13 Oct. There are a number of activities locals (including current inhabitants) can partake this week in order to become more aware of the less fortunate around them.
Quiz: How much do you know about homelessness?
I’m proud of myself for scoring 100% but that’s because I’d spent time volunteering at a shelter and with a NPO for the DTES community. 😛
Union Gospel Mission will be hosting guided, as well as audio (without a guide but via cell phones with data plans), tours around the Downtown Eastside (DTES).
Guided tour times vary but generally folllow this schedule:
Tuesday, October 9 – Saturday, October 13
10:00AM, 12:00PM, 3:00PM, and 4:30PM
Be sure to sign up for a tour ASAP, as tours can be quickly booked up, especially on Saturday.
Volunteer at a Shelter
There are plenty of shelters / soup kitchens around town. Just about all them are always looking for volunteers, even for a day. For instance, I had volunteered at First Baptist Church on Tuesdays (Shelter Programme day) from 2010-11. They start at 18:45 and end around 22:00 (or whenever the tidying is done). Of course, volunteers may stay for as short or as long as they can. Just get the experience and meet some people you’ve probably spotted around Vancouver! I know I run into a few sometimes! 🙂
Still no hope for the homeless? Check out these programmes that have been making a difference in people’s lives: http://stophomelessness.ca/learn-more-2/programs.
One of the programmes not mentioned above that I’d been involved with is Run For Change (officially: The Run For Change Society). It is a non-profit society that facilitates free weekly runs/walks on Sundays at 10AM at the Carnegie Community Centre on Main St. The NPO has been running for 2 years now (since 2010) and has already hosted 3 5k Fun Runs, as well as registered its participants in 2 Vancouver Sun Runs, 1 BMO Half Marathon, 1 Scotia Half Marathon and 1 Surrey Marathon.
There is a special event this Friday morning called the Back Alley Run, initiated by a DTESer and dedicated participant, Brad Firth. Come join him and other participants as they run (and walk) around the DTES to raise more awareness about this programme! Let’s get people off their addictions and on their feet!
For more information and updates, please check their social media sites:
Official Facebook Page (official updates but please ‘friend’ the FB account for updates): runforchange.ca
Twitter (updates are from Facebook): RunForChange
In the future…
There will be a new smartphone game called iBeg, where one becomes a virtual homeless person and learns how to panhandle and what not, that will be released in spring 2013. I’m not sure whether it’s free or not but a portion of proceeds will go to homelessness advocacy groups. Seems pretty interesting…
- Richard Branson offers cheap cellphones to at-risk Vancouver kids (theprovince.com)
- Prospect of scrapping federal project leads to fears for homeless (theglobeandmail.com)
- Homelessness Action Week 2012: Eastside Stride (miss604.com)