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Amazing shopping cart race

The third annual Arthur Cottie Memorial amazing shopping cart race is being held in Kelowna today.

A total of 20 teams of pledged race participants decorated shopping carts and at 10 a.m. set out on an Amazing Race-style scavenger hunt around town, which will end with a barbecue at Kerry Park around 1 p.m.

Participating businesses have flags set up out front to indicate they are a part of the event.

The idea is to bring the community together to inspire local residents to pull together and help end homelessness in Kelowna by raising money for the Inn from the Cold shelter.

Teams were given clues revealing the location of Amazing Race-style challenges. Each team has a maximum of three hours to make the journey. Teams must complete an obstacle course at the end of the race and be the first to cross the finish line.

Tara Tschritter has been involved at Inn from the Cold for five years and said this event is about raising awareness and money for two Inn from the Cold programs.

"We have our emergency winter shelter that we operate every year and it's almost completely volunteer run," she said. "Also, come August 1, we are opening our very first housing program for eight chronically homeless men in our community. So we'll be getting eight men directly off the street."

There are about 450 homeless or at-risk people in Kelowna according to the last count, with even more in the summer.  

"There's not a lot of first-stage housing for men and we had to do one or the other (men or women), because it's only eight people in shared accommodation," she said. "So, we chose to do men because H.O.P.E. Outreach just opened for women and when I look at my stats, definitely more men are accessing our services."

Tschritter feels that Kelowna is moving in the right direction though and events like the amazing shopping cart race are "definitely putting a dent," in the numbers. 

In the first year of the race, teams raised around $18,000. Last year they raised $28,000 and this year Tschritter hopes they can push even higher than that. "I'm hoping anywhere between $20,000 and $30,000 I would be so pleased with," she said.

"We don't receive a lot of government funding, so it's all through fundraising."

People can support the event by donating to an existing team or just donating directly to the shelter on their website: www.innfromthecoldkelowna.org

The new housing will be on Chandler street. The house is currently under renovation in preparation for the grand opening.

"We're still looking for tradespeople, and also for people to donate in kind, materials, time, goods - plumbers and electricians in particular are things we need." 

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