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‘The next best thing’: B.C. family organizes ‘stay-at-home’ campout for front-line workers

A Surrey family is asking British Columbians to camp out at home in support of front-line heath workers. .
A Surrey family is asking British Columbians to camp out at home in support of front-line heath workers. . Simon Little / Global News

The novel coronavirus pandemic has put the brakes on B.C.’s camping season, but that’s not stopping one Surrey family who is hoping you’ll pitch in to support health-care workers.

Kelly and Hammond Tarry and their kids Piper and Cooper are spearheading the Stay-at-Home B.C. Camp Out.

READ MORE: Camping suspended at BC Parks due to coronavirus pandemic

The idea is simple: set your tent and camping gear up in your yard, your basement or even your living room on April 25, donate a $5 “camping fee” to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC), and share your pictures on Facebook.

“In B.C. camping is such a big hobby, lots of people like to do it. It’s an outdoor province,” Kelly told Global News.

“So why not do it anyway, even though the parks are closed? It’s something you can do easily with little preparation and still get some of that camping atmosphere.

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“It’s the next best thing.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Non-essential campgrounds scheduled to close, including one near Brockville

The Tarrys got the idea from family in the U.K., where a similar idea raising money for the National Health Service (NHS) was such a smash success that it’s become a weekly event.

Kelly, a human resources officer and Hammond, a psychology instructor, are both working from home and say while there are challenges, it’s nothing compared to what front-line workers are currently dealing with.

BC Ferries rescinds layoff notices for hundreds of staff
BC Ferries rescinds layoff notices for hundreds of staff

“So while we are at home, we should be reminding ourselves that there are others less fortunate that have to go out every day,” said Kelly.

“We wanted to do something that was fun while we’re stuck at home, but also educate the kids and have them support a greater cause than themselves.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Non-essential campgrounds scheduled to close, including one near Brockville

As of Wednesday, 32 families had signed up for the campout, raising nearly $1,000 for the BCCDC.

B.C. suspended camping in provincial parks in March and completely closed the parks in April to try and stop the spread of COVID-19.

Provincial health officials have urged British Columbians to suspend all non-essential travel, and say restrictions will likely remain in place until at least early summer.

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