More than 100 people spent the night sleeping on the pavement in South Surrey on Nov. 5 to raise funds – and awareness – for youth homelessness.
The second annual “Sleep Out” fundraiser, an initiative of Fraser Valley-based restaurant franchise giant Joseph Richard Group (JRG), raised more than $156,000 this time around, to be donated to Covenant House Vancouver and Youth Unlimited.
The estimated 165 people who bundled up and took part spent the night, from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., in the parking lot of Grandview Corners Shopping Centre, next to JRG’s S + L Kitchen & Bar (16051 24 Ave.).
“It was just amazing to see the support this event has generated,” said Ryan Moreno, CEO and co-founder of JRG, in a release.
Moreno first participated in Covenant House Vancouver’s Sleep Out: Executive Edition two years ago and felt that more could be done.
From that experience, Moreno’s idea for a Fraser Valley “sleep out” was born.
In the event’s inaugural year, the group raise more than $115,000.
“Last year was great to see the staff really get behind it but this year it has gone to a whole new level with friends, family and other local business and community leaders getting involved. We hope next year can be even bigger and continue to grow annually,” added Moreno.
This year, JRG extended the invitation to friends, family and other local business and community leaders to get involved and help raise awareness for homeless youth and the community responded.
A long list of businesses organized teams to take part in the South Surrey sleep out this year, including Dana Matheson (C&D Logistics), Jen Hamilton (Oxygen Yoga), Darian Kovacs (Jelly Marketing), Randy Watson (Village Church), Matt Dryfhout (Scout Technology Guides), Angie Quaale (Well Seasoned), San Bhatha (Southridge Dental), George (A&W South Surrey), Mike Penno (Penno Plumbing), Mackenzie (SPINCO Cloverdale), Ryan Cyr (Semiahmoo Minor Hockey Coaches), Rob Visnjak (Rob Visnjak Personal Real Estate Corporation), Renee (Mountain View Veterinary Hospital), Aaron Steinfeld (Newton Hi Quality Meats), Will Loftus (Game Ready Fitness), Brandon Drewlo (Novacom Building Partners), Dave (Sparo Mortgage Advisors) and Chris Wakefield (Tim Horton’s).
Moreno and fellow JRG co-founder Andre Bourque are now readying to participate in this year’s Covenant House Vancouver: Executive Edition Sleep Out on Nov. 15th in downtown Vancouver, where they will sleep on the streets for a second night.
Donations are still being taken to support the cause at jrgsleepout.com.
JRG is made up of 25 public houses, restaurants and liquor retail outlets in BC and Alberta. Visit jrg.ca to learn more.