Keep warm while supporting fight against homelessness

Keeping warm for a cause.Tuesday, Feb. 5 is designated Toque Tuesday, to raise awareness of homelessness and the need for long-term solutions to it.

Mark Griffin, director of Brock Off-Campus and community outreach, is coordinating the event at Brock this year. The on-campus campaign is jointly supported by Brock Off-Campus, residence groups and Brock University Student’s Union (BUSU) businesses.

The campaign is a chance, Griffin says, “[To] help people locally and get some national exposure.”

All proceeds will go to Raising the Roof, a national organization dedicated to long-term solutions to homelessness. Since its inception in 1996, Raising the Roof has distributed $547,000 to 41 groups across Canada. In addition to the toque campaign, the group coordinates comedy benefits featuring well-known comedians such as Rick Mercer and Don Ferguson.

Eighty per cent of funds raised will stay in the region. In Niagara, the money will support Community Care and the Housing Help Centre.

Griffin got involved after being approached by Wendy Thompson, assistant to Tim Rigby, St. Catharines’ mayor.

Last year was BUSU’s first year involved with the project, and Brock students and staff purchased around 1000 toques.

Toques are on sale for a minimum donation of $7 at the BUSU office, Sophie’s, General Brock and the welcome desk in Schmon Tower. They have been available for the past two weeks, and Griffin estimates they have sold about 500 of their 1,500 goal.

The students’ union is approached by 15-20 charities each year, says Griffin, and BUSU participates in some way in about half of these.

Other community and service events this year have included dragon boat races, the Niagara AIDS walk and medieval challenge, Helpfest, area Christmas parades and Gambling Awareness Week.

“We look to find something that will appeal to students; something that students will want to be a part of — that they can see the results,” Griffin says. “… We do things that show Brock students want to be involved in the community.”

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