Fundraiser goes under the bridge tonight

There are people in Trail who are on the street battling the elements because they are homeless.

Most people in Greater Trail can afford to come in from the cold. But there are some who are on the street battling the elements because they are homeless.

So tonight, rain or shine, 40 people will gather under the Victoria Street bridge and sleep outside to raise awareness and funds for Getting to Home, which is a program that seeks to end homelessness in Greater Trail.

City of Trail mayoral candidate Mike Martin has signed on to join the 12- hour Coins for Change campaign that begins at 8 p.m., noting that within the Lower Columbia region, Trail has the highest proportion of people who are considered to be homeless or at significant risk of becoming homeless.

Raising money for the Coins for Change initiative is an opportunity to assist those who know what needs to be done to address homelessness, he said, adding that Getting to Home program has a well defined and actionable plan in place.

The outdoor challenge was organized by downtown Trail’s Career Development Services (CDS), a service that in partnership with the Skills Centre has successfully housed 163 people over the last two years.

Sheila Adcock, CDS’ program coordinator, said the fundraiser has garnered much local interest and many community members who can’t stay for the full event, are committed to stopping by and staying for a few hours.

There’s no formal agenda for the evening, but an open mike will be available for anyone who wants to address the crowd and show appreciation, share a story or challenge others to get involved year round.

Firefighters, members of the local police force, and councillors from Trail, Montrose, Fruitvale and Rossland will be representing their communities at the site, no matter the weather.

Money raised for the event will help sustain the non-profit service into next year and so far, those sleeping over, CDS staff and few others in the community have been collecting donations. The spirit has also reached far outside the area.

“We even have a donation of $3,000 from someone whose son played hockey here, in the past,” said Adcock. “Because he wanted to support this community initiative.”