South Surrey's Kelly Tarry and her family participate in the inaugural BC Stay-at-Home Campout on April 25. The event was so successful, a second one is planned for May 16. (Contributed photo)

South Surrey mom asks families to ‘camp out’ at home for COVID-19 response fund

Third province-wide Stay-at-Home Campout planned as charitable fundraiser

A South Surrey mom is once again pitching a plan to help with the ongoing COVID-19 crisis in B.C., while giving families an opportunity for a bit of an adventure.

Kelly Tarry’s Stay-at-Home Campout will return May 1, with proceeds once again going to the BCCDC Foundation for Public Health’s Emergency Response Fund.

Last spring, with most of the province stuck at home amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Tarry had an idea – to go camping.

Of course, that was easier said than done, considering all B.C. residents were still stuck at home, with travel discouraged, so Tarry came up with an idea – the BC Stay-at-Home Campout – which also served as a COVID-19 fundraiser.

Tarry’s campout initiative encouraged participants to set up a camp in their own homes – either in a backyard or on a patio, or indoors in a living room or basement – and then donate a camping fee through the event’s donation page.

A Facebook page was set up (www.facebook.com/groups/theBCStayatHomeCampout) where participants could discuss fundraising efforts and share camping tips – as well as photos of their at-home camping setups – and it quickly ballooned to a few hundred members.

The first event, held last April, raised more than $3,900 – almost four times the original goal – and was successful enough that a second event was held a month later. Tarry called it “a huge success.”

And now, looking to continue making a difference in the community – both on the Semiahmoo Peninsula and across the province – Tarry has organized a third event, set for this Saturday.

“With COVID numbers so high, it’s good to feel like we are contributing again,” Tarry said.

For the upcoming event, Tarry says anyone can participate by setting up a tent or sleeping shelter at their home. Campers are encourage to make a minimum $5 donation to the BCCDC Foundation for Public Health; and campers are encouraged to consider taking the new B.C. COVID-19 SPEAK 2 Survey.

The BCCDC survey, which is open until May 9, asks respondents about vaccines, adapting to COVID-19, behaviours and recovery. The survey can be found here.

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