For more than a decade, Operation Come Home has been running the Reality Campaign, led by Eric Bollman (co-host on 1061CHEZ’s the Doc & Woody show). The campaign’s goal is to bring awareness to youth homelessness in Ottawa as it is a reality of which many people are not aware. In previous years the campaign focused on hosting Ottawa’s original 24 Hours of Homelessness event. In recent years, OCH has partnered with Mr. Bollman and 1061CHEZ to expand the campaign to include a month-long series of events that each highlight a different challenge that homeless youth face every day. Last year’s expansion resulted in a vast increase in public engagement.
THE ORIGINAL 24 HOURS OF HOMELESSNESS
January 26th, 2017 – January 27th, 2017
This is the original Reality Campaign event where participants spend 24 Hours outside of the Royal Oak on Bank and Gloucester. The goal is to raise awareness of the realities of living on the streets in Ottawa in the winter. Temperatures can dip as low as -40 at which point, when youth sleep, they are exposed not only to safety risks, but health risks as well. The event is broadcast for the full 24 hours on 1061Chez.
THE 24 BUCK CHALLENGE
January 28th, 2017 (Team Shopping Day)
January 29th, 2017 – February 4th, 2017 (Challenge Time Frame)
February 5th, 2017 (Celebratory Challenge Completion Dinner)
For a week, participants will live off of $24 worth of groceries and nothing more. This is the equivalent of what would be left in a youth’s budget if they were living off of Ontario Works after they had paid all of their other expenses (rent, bus passes, etc.). This event demonstrates the struggle that youth go through to pay their bills in the first place and how there is very little left, if anything, to be able to buy food for themselves for an entire month. All participants will meet up on Saturday to do their grocery shopping for the week together. Finally, there will be a completion dinner that participants are welcome to attend. 1061Chez will be hosting a “Big Game Party” and Operation Come Home will be making an exciting announcement regarding one of our social enterprises.
THE BIG BOTTLE DRIVE
February 5th, 2017 – February 11th, 2017
Craft breweries and other businesses from across Ottawa will be sharing on social media, through word of mouth and any other methods of communication that they will be competing in a friendly bottle drive with other craft breweries across the city. For one week only, they will be asking their fans to donate all of their empty wine, liquor and beer bottles to the BottleWorks social enterprise. BottleWorks employed 12 youth in 2015 so that they could receive on-the-job training and social support. The social enterprise teaches youth how to find stability in the workplace and how to use coping skills when facing problems in their personal lives so that they can better succeed in their next job. Eric the Intern will spend the week working with the BottleWorks social enterprise.
THE WE’RE LISTENING CAMPAIGN
February 12th, 2017 – February 18th, 2017
Social media is a powerful tool that gives voice to people across the globe. The We’re Listening Campaign will use social media to give at risk-youth a bigger voice in Ottawa. Key community members will volunteer to be silent for a day or a portion of the day, allowing a youth to speak on their behalf. Both the youth and community members will be actively engaging on twitter throughout the day, providing highlights of what they’re doing and stats relevant to the issues they’re discussing. Additionally, we’re inviting everyone interacting with the youth, OCH supporters, and in the Ottawa community at large to participate in an #unselfie campaign sharing statistics and relevant hashtags in their selfies to draw attention to what the youth are saying – to show them #werelistening.
THE POOR CHEF’S COMPETITION
February 23rd, 2017
Five top chefs from the City of Ottawa are asked to compete in this event that all are welcome to attend. Chefs are asked to prepare a dish using only $3 and three items listed on our “common items” of Food Bank donated food. This event highlights the difficulty of preparing a nutritious, tasty meal with such a limited budget. Homeless youth in Ottawa often do not have the skills or knowledge of a chef, so preparing a meal with such limited resources is impossible. Instead, they turn to fast food or not eating at all. Celebrity judges talk about the meals and decide who is the final winner. With each ticket purchased, attendees will be gifted with a cookbook that includes last year’s recipes, this year’s recipes as well as recipes from other chefs who were asked to brainstorm low budget funds.
Buy your tickets here! (A limited number of tickets will be available at the door)