An established Fraser Valley entrepreneur has plans to forego a comfortable bed and instead spend one night out in the open – and he does this every year.
Joseph Richard Group’s CEO Ryan Moreno, who grew up in Langley, is asking people to join him at the Langley Events Centre (LEC) on Friday, Nov. 18, for the sixth annual One Night Out fundraiser, which raises money and awareness for youth living without shelter.
Participants are encouraged to bring their sleeping bags and make LEC’s parking lot their bedroom for a night. If things go south and the temperature drops or it starts to rain, the participants would be asked to move to the makeshift shelter at LEC or return home.
At this year’s event, Moreno and his team will also speak about the need for safe shelter and access to food, which those on the margins do not have access to.
Moreno has partnered with multiple charity organizations working for youth, including Covenant House. Money raised through this year’s campaign will help Youth Unlimited, City Dream Centre, Phoenix Society, Mackie’s Place, and Covenant House run their programs focused on vulnerable youth.
Hundreds of participants are expected to attend the fundraiser campaign as they have in the past.
While the fundraiser campaign has taken place in multiple locations in the Fraser Valley in the past, it is for the first time that it will be held at the LEC.
Moreno said the events centre’s open space, easy access to the community, capacity, and support from Township, as well as Vancouver Giants, make it a “fantastic” facility.
The One Night Out fundraiser was first started in 2016 by JRG Group – the campaign raised about $30,000 in its first year. But the numbers, as well as participation, increased significantly in the following years.
More than 200 people have participated in the past, raising about $110,000 annually.
Moreno’s inspiration to start the fundraiser in the Fraser Valley came after he participated in a similar campaign, which Covenant House runs in Vancouver.
“[The Covenant House sleep out] really opened my eyes,” he said.
As a father, the experience made him think about the conditions of youth living and sleeping on the streets. Following this, he brought that fundraiser to his own community.
“When we first started One Night Out, we had approximately 700 employees, which matched the number of homeless youth in Metro Vancouver at the time. My vision is that one day, our entire team can come together to sleep outside so that no young person will have to,” said Moreno.
“One Night Out allows us to have a wide-scale effective fundraiser campaign, and funnel additional costs that would typically be poured into a large-scale event such as a gala.”
JRG and the supporting charities aim to grow the fundraiser to support these individuals and raise “as much as possible” this year.
Those interested in participating can contact the team by emailing email@example.com.
To learn more about each charity, donate to the event, or register to participate in the sixth annual One Night Out, people can visit https://www.jrg.ca/one-night-out-or-in/.
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