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Yards for Hope kicks off 5th year in support of Hope Mission

Click to play video 'Yards for Hope raising money for the Hope Mission in Edmonton' Yards for Hope raising money for the Hope Mission in Edmonton
The CISN Country morning team is camping out at Commonwealth Stadium in support of the Hope Mission homeless shelter, which is facing a challenge unlike ever before. Community reporter Morgan Black spent the morning with the team to find out how the fundraiser is going – Oct 7, 2020

On Oct. 7 and 8, the morning team at CISN Country 103.9 are camping out at Commonwealth Stadium to raise funds for Hope Mission.

Since 2016, Chris Scheetz, Jack Sweeney and Matt DeBeurs have camped out at the football stadium for Yards for Hope. The team starts at one end of the field and moves down the turf one yard at a time, for every $1,000 donated.

The goal this year is to raise $110,000.

Read more: Yards for Hope sets new donation record for Edmonton’s homeless community

The organization provides meals, shelter and other resources to Edmontonians experiencing homelessness.

“We know there are a lot of people struggling because of COVID-19,” Scheetz said. “But, because people are struggling it seems like a lot of other people are trying to help. They are still giving, it’s amazing.”

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The trio will sleep on the field overnight Wednesday. Scheetz said it’s a reminder about what it would be like to sleep without shelter.

“If it rains tonight, we are out in the elements, just like people would be if they didn’t have the Hope Mission to spend the night in.” he said. “You meet these people and you realize every one of them deserve love and deserve something. That’s exactly what they get at the Hope Mission.”

Click to play video 'Update on Yards for Hope fundraiser for the Hope Mission in Edmonton' Update on Yards for Hope fundraiser for the Hope Mission in Edmonton
Update on Yards for Hope fundraiser for the Hope Mission in Edmonton – Oct 7, 2020

Ryan Harding, manager of outreach at Hope Mission, said Yards for Hope is the organization’s largest fundraiser.

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“It’s invaluable every year. I don’t know what we would do without it, to be honest.”

Harding said the fundraiser comes at the perfect time. He’s seen an increase in clients who have a place to stay, but still need access to resources.

“We’re seeing people who were making ends meet, but they aren’t anymore,” Harding said.

“Through all of this we are still working with people, still feeding people. I’m sure across the province we will hit one million meals this year. We are still housing hundreds of people every night.

Hope Mission is also facing challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In September, the team saw its first COVID-19 case.

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Read more: Advocates say more plans needed for homeless camps as Edmonton sees 1st COVID-19 outbreak at shelter

“This is an outbreak throughout the inner city. Our rescue vans are transporting people from Hope Mission, but also the Bissel Centre and Boyle Street. We are seeing a wide range of people.

“This pandemic has hit the inner-city but I’m glad we can be here to flatten the curve,” Harding said.

“Over this last little while we have had some COVID-19 positive cases [about 10] and we have had to do contact tracing and then helping people who may have bee exposed get to isolation centres.”

As the pandemic continues, Harding said the event is essential in bringing resources and support.

“[This fundraiser] reaffirms to our clients and staff that there’s people out there that really care.”
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To donate, call Hope Mission 1-855-836-HOPE (4673) or give online at hopemission.com/donate/radiothon