The Rev. Patrick Blaney
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The Homeless are not Hopeless.  Thanks to The Long, Long Night of Hope 2018, there is Hope!

The second annual Long, Long Night of Hope took place on February 24th, a chilly winter night when a dozen brave participants slept in their cars or on the floor of St. John’s Anglican Church. They were there to raise awareness for the homelessness crisis in our community. Along the journey, those participants – many of them from the parishes of St. John’s and St. Catherine’s in North Vancouver – raised well over $17,000.00 for The Lookout Housing and Health Society of North Vancouver. 

Homelessness is steadily growing, and many Canadians have opted to live in their vehicles as an alternative to either high housing rates or overcrowded shelters. The parish of St. John’s Anglican Church, positioned right in downtown North Vancouver and just a kilometre away from the shelter, knew they had to do something to help.  In February 2017, The Long, Long Night of Hope launched, with just seven participants. Using social media and emails to friends and family, those seven volunteers raised over $10,600.00 for the Lookout Society. “It was important to us to reach outside the walls of the church to raise the money, to involve the entire community instead of just our parish,” said coordinator Donna Lawrence. Their peer-to-peer campaign allowed for each participant to set up their own fundraising page, set their own targets, and share their own journey with friends and family.  Donations poured in from all over the world, not just the North Shore.

Encouraged by the initial success, St. John’s ramped up their efforts in the second year.  From investing in Long, Long Night of Hope signage around the church, to sending out press releases and doing interviews, to recruiting North Vancouver/Lonsdale MLA Bowinn Ma as a participant, the campaign doubled its efforts and almost doubled their total raised.  “Having Bowinn Ma join us was a true gift! She actually spoke to the BC Legislature about The Long, Long Night of Hope, and asked everyone there to support her!” Lawrence exclaimed. “We have some amazing, tireless volunteers who truly gave of their hearts to raise money to help the homeless!” Thanks to the funds raised by committed participants and generous donors, The Lookout Housing and Health Society of North Vancouver will be able to invest in long-term solutions to aid families in crisis.

The Long, Long Night of Hope team at St. John’s is already looking to 2019 and beyond, with hopes of the fundraising campaign growing bigger and better.  “From the very beginning we thought this could easily grow beyond our deanery. We would love to see other parishes and other deaneries matching up with their local shelters to raise money through their own Long, Long Night of Hope campaign.  We would be happy to help them get started!”

A huge thank you to Donna for organizing all of this and to all who helped to raise the funds.  A job well done!

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