The Bargain! Shop (TBS) stores in Port Hardy and Port McNeill participated in an all-night event that supports mental illness assistance in Canada on the evening of May 29. The partnership is between the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and Red Apple Stores Inc., which owns TBS. The CAMH Darkness to Light event saw participants nation-wide gathering throughout the day in homes, at work, and at their favourite local haunts to bring awareness to the issues of mental illness and addiction.
The Port Hardy TBS stayed open until midnight, while the Port McNeill location was one of the 48 locations throughout the country that stayed open all night, shuttering doors at 6 a.m. Late night shoppers were able to enjoy $5 off any purchase of $25 or more, with more sales on snacks, DVDs, craft books and other products. At the Port Hardy location, a small but steady stream of shoppers entered the glass doors before 9 p.m., including a trio of pre-teen boys very excited to each purchase a six-pack of pop. After 9 p.m. however, a store representative said traffic slowed down significantly.
At the Port McNeill TBS, store manager Michelle Monk said the event was a huge success, with the last customers leaving around 3 a.m. A bake sale and chili sale accompanied the event, and Monk says about $500 in donations were received. Monk added that many attendees know and care about people with mental illness, or have suffered themselves, and that they showed up to give valuable support.
Donations brought into either location from the event will make their way to the CAMH headquarters in Toronto. Money raised through this event will go towards funding CAMH’s most urgently-needed services, including increased access, new research, and projects that will improve mental health care country-wide.
An important component of the event was that participants were encouraged to speak freely about mental illness and addiction leading up the evening, in an effort to move towards decreasing the long-standing stigma towards these issues. Details on the amount of money raised throughout the evening were not available at press time.