Night spent on streets of Vancouver ‘terrifying’ for South Surrey moms

Ocean Park residents sleep out downtown to raise funds for youth programs.

Thirty-two moms – including South Surrey’s Joan Webster

Spending the night on the streets of Vancouver last week was “simply terrifying” for four South Surrey moms, taking part in a fundraiser for Covenant House.

The event – which raised more than $118,000 for the organization’s outreach services for at-risk and homeless youth – saw 32 women from across the Lower Mainland sleep outside Covenant’s House Yaletown centre, with nothing but a piece of cardboard and a sleeping bag.

“Uncomfortable, cold hard streets, bright city lights, constant sirens and screaming of profanity, the presence of small rodents in the back alleys and the sounds of dumpsters opening and closing,” said Joan Webster, an Ocean Park resident, describing the night of May 5.

“Needless to say, we didn’t get much sleep.”

Webster – who volunteers at Covenant House’s youth drop-in centre – described the teens and young adults who face homelessness year-round as “unbelievable, so resilient and so worthy of our respect, support and love.”

The overnight event began with a panel discussion featuring three youth who shared their stories about facing homelessness. In the morning, participants took part in a group reflection exercise where they shared thoughts on their experience.

Webster said she will “absolutely” take part in the event again should it become an annual fundraiser.

“I have committed for as long as my back will hold out,” she said.

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