Bob Robertson and Linda Cullen are promising some “pretty funny moments” during the Homelessness Action Week fundraiser on Thursday.
Cullen and Robertson, who brought their humour to CBC’s Double Exposure, will MC the New Westminster Homelessness Coalition’s fundraiser at the Columbia Theatre on Oct. 17.
“I think they get that nice combination of feeling good because they have helped out, and feeling happy because we made them laugh,” Robertson said.
Homelessness Action Week is being celebrated from Oct.13 to 19. The coalition’s mission is to create a continuum of housing options and supports in New Westminster for people who are homeless, at risk of being homeless, or are vulnerable or need help to secure a home.
While homelessness is no laughing matter, Cullen and Robertson hope to inject a bit of humour into the fundraiser.
“We can be funny when it’s needed to lighten the mood if that’s required,” Robertson told The Record. “We do try and keep people as cheery as possible, yet we have to be respectful.”
A couple of the people who will speak at the fundraiser have some “pretty horrific” stories from their lives, he noted.
“We will treat them with a great deal of respect. In a sense, this is a salute to survivors, those who have been homeless or are homeless and are surviving. It’s interesting for us in that way – it’s not just some other event,” Robertson said. “It’s quite poignant really.”
Cullen and Robertson, who live in New Westminster, see homelessness in the community around them.
“You don’t have to go very far to see it,” Robertson said. “It’s not an arms-length thing. We are face to face with it ourselves living here.”
This year’s event marks the second consecutive year the local couple has MCed the Homelessness Action Week fundraising dinner. They encourage residents to support the event.
“They are going to get an insight into homelessness,” Robertson said. “We use the term homeless – yes they are homeless, but we are really talking about mental illness here. You can’t beat around the bush. We need to learn about the services.”
Homelessness Action Week kicked off Monday, with a Thanksgiving dinner at the Union Gospel Mission. Connect Day, held Tuesday at Holy Trinity Cathedral, featured a variety of services and resources for people in need.
A Movie Night on Wednesday, Oct. 16 features a presentation of Celebrate What’s Right with the World at 6 p.m. and The Soloist (starring Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr.) at 7 p.m. The movie night, including free popcorn and refreshments, is being held at Rhoda Kaellis Housing Centre at 1105 Royal Ave.
The fundraiser dinner and auction take place on Thursday, Oct 17 at the Columbia Theatre at 530 Columbia St. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and dinner is at 6:30 p.m.
Tickets are $75 and available by calling Lynn Osborn at 604-603-8412 or Dave Brown at 778-288-8887.
Homelessness Action Week concludes with a multi-faith prayer service at St. Barnabas Church on Friday, Oct. 18 at 7 p .m. During the service at 1050 Fifth Ave., spiritual leaders will share their ideas about: What is Home? Diverse Teachings about Shelter.
For more information, visit www.nwhomeless.ca.
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