More than 50 people will camp out in front of a Kamloops pizza store on Friday in support of homeless youth.
Individuals, families, businesses, non-profits and even a couple of City councillors will crawl into their sleeping bags and hunker down for the night under cardboard boxes to raise funds for the initiative.
The event, sponsored by the A Way Home Committee to End Youth Homelessness, will take place at the Domino’s Pizza parking lot on Fortune Drive.
Those taking part have been taking pledges to raise funds. Domino’s Pizza will also donate 1,000 medium pizzas and will have a drive-thru pizza center the day of the event.
The pizzas (pepperoni, Hawaiian and cheese) will be sold for $10, and people are encouraged to pre-order if ordering more than five. There will be an opportunity to pre-pay and purchase pizza coupons good until the end of January 2018. The coupon code is youth.
All proceeds from the Camp-Out Pizza Fundraiser will go towards creating A Way Home Safe Suites, a housing option that provides youth with a bridge from the streets to homes.
Committee manager Katherine McParland said more than 82 homeless youth were identified last year. She said homeless youth end up couch surfing and are often at “extreme risk” of domestic violence or sexual exploitation.
“Our team is committed but what we’re missing is the first step and without that we won’t end youth homeless in our community,” she said of the housing plan.
Some of the campers have known homeless youth but others decided to take part just because it’s a good cause. One of them is Tyler Carpentier, who hopes to raise $1,500 by the time he begins his camp-out at 10 p.m. Friday. He’s more than halfway to his goal.
Councillors Tina Lange and Kathy Sinclair will represent City council, and have already tried out their sleeping bags and cardboard boxes in preparation.
“The youth homelessness problem has always been here in Kamloops,“ said Lange. “We just don’t know about it.”
Campers will spend eight hours in their makeshift overnight homes. The temperature is forecast to dip to about two below zero.
The A Way Home Committee is sponsored by the United Way, Boys & Girls Club and E. Fry.