In less than a week, an online fundraiser aimed at buying wagons for Vernon’s homeless population surpassed its $1,000 fundraising goal.
The campaign is in response to Vernon city council’s plans to ban commercial shopping carts on public property in the city.
“Can you imagine having everything you own all within one small cart and those things being the only things you have to keep you warm, fed, happy and alive?” wrote the fundraising organizer on the campaign’s GoFundMe page.
“Those individuals who utilize these carts, and have for years, to carry around their belongings will no longer be able to do so.”
The fundraising organizer believes $1,000 will be enough to buy 15 wagons.
Vernon’s mayor praised the fundraising campaign but said he didn’t think it would change council’s plans to ban shopping carts on public property.
However, Mayor Akbal Mund noted he “can’t speak for everyone else on council.”
Last week, Vernon city council passed a motion in favour of banning the carts on public property citywide after a task force recommended a ban within the city’s business improvement area in Vernon’s downtown core.
The majority of council decided it wanted to go further and ban the carts on all public property in the city.
“In my opinion, the majority of the people on the street need some form of help and the way they access that help is through our service providers. We have fantastic service providers in this community and they work out of the shelters,” Coun. Brian Quiring said last week.
“I’m of the belief that when you allow people to take one, two or three shopping carts and fill it with all of their belongings they have the potential then to set up a camp somewhere and not access a shelter and I’m of the hope that by requiring people to have limited belongings or possessions, that that will encourage them to get into a shelter where they can access services.”
The shopping cart ban isn’t law yet.
City staff are expected to draft a bylaw about shopping carts that council will look at in the fall.