Campaign kicked off March 15
by hammad ali, Contributor
In 2005, business students from the University of Alberta started a fundraising campaign called Five Days for the Homeless with the mission of generating awareness about homelessness and raising funds for charities around the country. Student participants experience homelessness for five days in early March to raise funds all across Canada. Since 2005, the movement has spread to universities throughout Canada. The Hill Business Students’ Society at the University of Regina has been taking part for 12 years now. In 2019, they raised $58,000, the highest amount ever raised by this campaign since its inception. This year, the campaign has had to change format due to the pandemic. We got in touch with Melissa Donald, VP Academic at the HBSS, to find out more.
“All proceeds from this campaign are donated to a non-profit organization in the local community that aids people experiencing homelessness and poverty. Our campaign funds go to Carmichael Outreach, and help support their many programs including housing support, food security and nutrition, children’s needs, and many more. Their website has more information on these and other programs,” said Donald.
“At the University of Regina, the events we organize for this campaign have changed and adapted over the years, and the campaign has grown and gained a lot of awareness. In 2019, we raised the highest amount across all universities in Canada!” she added.
Unfortunately, in 2020, the lockdown was issued two days before the campaign kick-off. The HBSS adapted and was able to organize a raffle draw instead of in-person events, and were still able to raise $42,000 within that short turnaround time.
When asked what they were planning for this year given the circumstances, Donald said, “This year’s campaign will run from March 15-19, and will involve a nightly livestream from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. every night, hosted by Mark Johnston. These live streams will consist of local community members speaking on relevant topics, and there will also be entertainment, musical performances, and games. Each day there will be a raffle with a $5 donation per entry. All relevant details for the live stream and the raffle will regularly be posted on HBSS social media accounts. We will also have some guests from Carmichael Outreach speaking about the importance of this event.”
When asked about other similar fundraising campaigns that HBSS might be involved in, Donald mentions, “This is the only campaign we do specifically for people experiencing homelessness. We do, however, do another fundraiser through our keg-a-rama event for the Burn Unit in Regina.”
Donald urges all members of the University of Regina, and the community at large, to get involved with the campaign and donate if they are able to do so. “Once the live stream is on, people will be able to donate directly through the livestream, or to Carmichael, via the online donation portal. We believe this year, it is more important than ever before to help our community and those experiencing homelessness. Even if all you can do this year is join the live stream and learn more about Carmichael and the local community, it would be highly appreciated.”
The Hill Business Students’ Society has a strong online presence, with their website www.hillbss.com, @HillBusiness on Facebook, and @hillbss on Instagram and Twitter. More information about Carmichael Outreach can be found at www.carmichaeloutreach.ca, where HBSS is listed as one of their long-time partners. Information about the upcoming events and how to get involved is already being posted.