With the church on board to host, next was deciding where the funds would go once raised. After extensive research, the decision was made to donate all the proceeds to The Lookout Housing and Health Society's shelter in North Vancouver. Donna reached out to their manager and presented the idea of the fundraiser, asking if they would be interested in being the recipient of any funds raised. Again, the manager later stated he figured they would be getting a few hundred dollars, but they were happy to get anything St. John's raised.
Seven enthusiastic volunteers registered for that first Long, Long Night of Hope, in February 2017. They took to Facebook and Instagram, they emailed friends, family and co-workers. Interviews were done with The North Shore News and with Global TV BC News. And when those 7 participants gathered on a cold February night to sleep in their cars, they did so having raised $10,600 for the shelter. Having heard of the fundraiser, Donna's employer Rogers Communications added another $1000 for the Lookout Society.
The Long, Long Night of Hope has continued to grow.
In the second year, North Vancouver MLA Bowinn Ma joined us, and even spoke to the BC Legislature about LLNOH! You can see the video of Bowinn's impassioned plea by visiting our Gallery tab above!
We have been blessed by partnership with our sister parish, St. Catherine's Anglican Church. They provided strong leadership and a second location for participants to join the activities of The Long, Long Night of Hope.
In just 4 years we have donated over $66,000 to The Lookout Society, with all funds staying on the North Shore to help people in our own community.
February 2020 Update:
just before the Covid-19 pandemic swept the world, volunteers gathered at St. Catherine's and St. John's churches in North Vancouver, BC, for the 4th annual Long, Long Night of Hope. They had spent weeks fundraising, and their efforts culminated in an evening spent sleeping in theircars or on pews in the church. Why? To shed light on the invisible homeless, those who live in cars or on friend's couches. Homelessness is everywhere.
We are excited to finally share that together we raised $17,350.00 for The Lookout Housing and Health shelter in North Vancouver.
"Walk a mile in your neighbour's shoes and you'll see
they're the same size as you.
There's no protected, no preferred,
Just people like me and you."
Those are the lyrics to our theme song (copyright Christie Lee Smith).
The Long, Long Night of Hope is rooted in those words. We believe everyone deserves a home, everyone deserves food and clothing, everyone deserves hope.
Homelessness is not Hopelessness.
Be the Hope.
Someone asked, "What are we doing for the people living on the streets of North Vancouver?" The simple answer: not enough. When we got the crazy idea to sleep in our cars and raise money on social media, no one thought we would go very far. Boy, were they wrong!
When that question was asked, parishioner Donna Lawrence knew she had an answer. Peer-to-Peer (online) fundraising has been around for years, and was very successful at raising money for events like "The Ride to Conquer Cancer". She surmised that if St. John's was to get a handful of volunteers to raise money through Peer-to-Peer fundraising, and build awareness by sleeping in their cars, they could do something to help the homeless.
The first step was getting the church to agree to sponsor the event. Donna spoke first to the priest, Rev. Patrick Blaney, and then to the Parish Council. While they all gave the go ahead to proceed, Rev. Blaney later admitted, "I figured they might raise $1000, maybe a bit more."
2021 EXCITING NEWS
The Long, Long Night of Hope is expanding to Kelowna, BC! All funds raised in Kelowna will support the Kelowna Gospel Mission's shelter in Kelowna, BC. As always, all funds raised in North Vancouver will go to the Lookout Society's shelter in North Vancouver.
SHELTER IN PLACE - with a worldwide pandemic still disturbing o
ur "normal", the Long, Long Night of Hope 2021 is going virtual. Participants will shelter in place, in their own driveway, their backyard or on their own porch. The Kickoff Celebration on February 27th will be online - details to be announced soon!
Registration is still free, and participation is easy! Please, join us and support us!