The Cranbrook and District Community Foundation smashed their goal for the Miracle on Baker Street fundraiser last Friday, raising over double what they were hoping for.
With donations still trickling in, the event raised $55,463 that will go towards the Salvation Army’s efforts to build a 24/7 homeless shelter in Cranbrook.
If anyone is curious why men in underwear were hanging out at the top of Baker St. on Friday, it was for a good cause as the group collected pledges and did warmup activities to raise money for the shelter.
Riley Wilcox, executive director of the CDCF, said the event was overwhelmingly received.
“Frankly I’m still in a bit of shock from the whole event,” Wilcox said. “I knew this community was generous however I had no idea how generous. At a time when mills have closed and mines have had temporary shut downs we understand people tightening up on their giving this year, however we just experienced the opposite of that.”
Just under two dozen local business and community leaders stepped up to the plate to strip down and brave the cold in their underwear for over four hours. Every half hour, participants underwent a challenge or warmup activity.
For example, one event, everyone grouped up into teams and sent a representative to a table for a one-pound fruitcake eating contest, with the winning team getting some warm up time in The Bedroom Furniture Galleries.
Other warmups included an exercise routine led by Olivia Besanger and a car wash.
For AJ Wheaton, the manager of Mister Tire and one of the fundraising participants, the event hit close to home.
“When I heard it was for the homeless shelter—I actually had a young kid work for us last year and I didn’t realize he had anywhere to go,” Wheaton said.
“…A couple nights he actually froze outside and I didn’t quite realize that they [homeless] really don’t have any place to go because there’s no homeless shelter, no 24-hours, there’s nowhere for someone to be.
“That was last winter, so when I heard about [Miracle on Baker Street], I remembered that and thought this is a great thing to be doing right now.”
Chris Botterill of Genex Marketing joked that since he works out of a home office, people just assume he struts around in his underwear anyways.
“Coming from a marketing background, I thought it put a really unique spin on creating awareness for something that really is quite a serious issue, so I thought it was a great idea and I think it piqued a lot of interest,” Botterill said.
“It was a lot of fun, just really good energy seeing all the people coming down, everybody had a smile on their face, nobody pushed back on anything, everyone just really embraced it.”
Mike Adams of Taylor and Adams Accountants was invited to participate after the organizers got his friends to prod him into joining up.
“I was amazed at the support the community gave to all of us that were trying to fundraise,” Adams said. “Never got said no to once, it was just unreal. I was really impressed with how well organized it was. The time flew and we had such a good time doing it.”