This past weekend was the 6th annual Run to Give YVR! This run was started in 2015 by Kate Gustafson, who wanted to find a way to bring Vancouver’s active and engaged running community together in support of marginalized women. She recruited Neasa Coll and Sabine Martz to help her put it together, and Run to Give was born. Now, every year a group of women runners come together to organize the event. Over the years Kim Doerkson, Kristina Jenei and Alyssa Cantarutti joined the organizing committee, and to date they have been able to raise over $35,000 for the Downtown East Side Women’s Centre.
The DEWC is an amazing organization that exclusively serves women and their children. They provide many of the necessities to their clients, including hot meals, clothing, toiletries, a mailing address, internet access and secure toilets and showers. Most importantly, they are a safe and welcoming refuge from the street. Their meal program, which serves over 500 meals daily, is completely donor-funded and relies on the support of the community. The centre also assists women with immediate and crisis needs so that they can improve their health, family, employment and housing situations. They offer long term support, education and advocacy.
Every year, Vancouver’s running clubs come together and meet on a Sunday morning in December to run as a group in support of the incredible work the DEWC does. Runners are encouraged to donate what they can and everything is donated to the Centre. The event is untimed and the route is always the same almost-but-not-quite 8km on Vancouver’s seawall. Everyone from the speediest runners to toddlers and dogs are welcome.
In 2020, the event had to be paused due to restrictions on large gatherings, so when Run to Give restarted in 2021 the fundraising goal was increased. The DEWC has faced more of a need than ever, and we would like to be able to support them as much as possible. As of today, the donation tally is at $4,075—and our dream would be to get to $7,500. For the DEWC, $5 means they can give a woman a hot meal, safe space and a day’s access to support services.
If you would like to help support the DEWC, you can donate through the Run to Give YVR page, which will also generate a tax receipt for you. If you’re local to Vancouver, the Centre also has a mini wish list of things they need, and they always appreciate the gift of volunteer time.
We are so grateful to the Vancouver Running Community for coming together every year and being as enthusiastic, engaged and generous as they are!