Grassroots Kind Hearts starts its fundraising efforts

If Grassroots Kind Hearts wants to do anything more than feed dinner to their “friends and family on the streets,” as they call that particular demographic of our community’s population – which they do – they need to start raising money beyond what their own members can provide out of their own pockets.

So they’ve started making fundraising plans.

“Our goal,” says group fundraising spokesperson Diane Palmer, “is for housing our friends and family on the street to become a reality in the future. However, in the meantime, we will soon be serving outside again and currently all meals and ingredients are provided through the kindness of volunteers as we have no other financial support at this time.”

So they’ve had shirts and car decals printed up with their logo that they are selling and they’ve been gathering items for an upcoming garage sale March 6 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Thunderbird Hall.

The first major fundraiser, however, is the screening of an important social justice documentary March 1 – also at Thunderbird Hall – along with a dinner and silent auction.

Us & Them, filmed over a 10-year period in Victoria, documents the friendships that develop between filmmaker Krista Loughton and four homeless people she’s trying to help – but who end up helping her – and Palmer hopes the screening will do more than simply entertain.

“Loughton has expressed that her hope in creating this film is for us to explore how we as individuals can help to create a better world as well as learning about ourselves in the process,” Palmer says, adding that the film has had three sold-out screenings in Victoria recently and received great acclaim from audiences. It was co-directed by Jennifer Abbot, who also co-directed The Corporation (2003), seen by some as being one of the best Canadian documentaries of all time.

“We hope that it will show to the viewer the human side of homelessness,” Palmer says. “Our hope is that people will understand that more needs to be done and that they will want to support our venture in doing that.”

Loughton herself will be on hand at the screening to introduce the film and do a Q&A afterwards, along with Karen Montgrand, one of the participants in the film.

Tickets for the film screening, dinner and silent auction on March 1 can be purchased at Wish Want Wear Clothing or Pathfinder Travel on Shoppers Row or by contacting Grassroots Kind Hearts on Facebook. They are $18 in advance (before Feb. 26) or $20 at the door on March 1 for both the dinner (salmon, traditional fried bread, Indian tacos and salad) and film screening. “Film only” tickets are available for $10.

They are also hoping for members of the community to come forward with items for the silent auction and grocery store gift cards to help the night be the best it can be.

Palmer says because  the group has no paid staff and no permanent location they have to pay for, the funds they will be raising from the film screening event, as well as shirt and decal sales and whatever they make from the upcoming garage sale, all go directly to supporting those on the streets, so people contributing to their cause can be confident that their help is being put where it is needed.

For more information, head over to their website, grassrootskindhearts.org, or find them on Facebook.