Participants will run in costume for a good cause on Nanaimo’s waterfront in this year’s 5K Monster Dash fundraiser event support citizen advocacy and women’s resource programs. The event is Saturday, Oct. 26. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Women’s Centre)

Monster Dash supports newly merged society in Nanaimo

Women’s resources, citizen advocacy groups become Society for Equity, Inclusion and Advocacy

Join monsters, ghouls, ghosts and creepy critters of all sorts and for a good cause this weekend at the second annual 5K Monster Dash.

The family-friendly costume run/walk happens Saturday, Oct. 26, along Nanaimo’s waterfront walkway, starting at Waterfront Marina and Suites and winding its way to Maffeo Sutton Park and the downtown waterfront.

The event is a fundraiser for the Society for Equity, Inclusion and Advocacy Central Vancouver Island – formerly known as Nanaimo Women’s Resource Society and Nanaimo Citizens Advocacy – which provides programs and services to support vulnerable populations in the region.

The merger is bringing together under one roof two of Nanaimo’s non-profit organizations that have served the community from separate locations for more than 40 years.

“We have many, many clients in clients in common … we cover a lot of the same territory and it seemed more economical all around and made more sense to have one set of expenses as opposed to two. It’s saving funds,” said Susan Carlson, SEIA board member.

Carlson said the organizations won’t be able to move in, however, until renovations to the new space are completed.

“We don’t know how long it’s going to take us to get this built,” Carlson said. “Basically, it’s an open floor and we have to put in all the offices.”

Carlson said the landlord for SEIA’s new home at 489 Wallace St. will provide the labour, but SEIA has to obtain and supply the building materials and the organization hopes the community will help out with what’s needed to complete the work.

“The supplies for our renovation for our new space is what we really need,” said Carslon. “They’ll build it. We have to supply all the building materials.”

Meanwhile, money raised from the Monster Dash entry fees and donations will help pay for activities and extras that go beyond the the society’s agencies’ budgets.

“To have any discretionary funds, we have to fundraise,” said Carlson. “So, to be able to buy a cookie for the people that drop in for the drop-in program and for the women’s drop-in centre and things like that and just to be able to support the parts of the programs that aren’t paid for by their funders … there are parts of every program that fall between the cracks.”

Entry fees for the run/walk event range from $10 for children to $35 for adults and participating individuals and teams are welcome to raise pledge donations, too; tax receipts are available. There are prizes for the best costumes, music, treats, a one-kilometre walk option for children, and post-run activities including a gathering at White Sails Brewing.

Last year the run was held at Westwood Lake Park, but Carlson said the new location makes the event more visible.

“People can stare at people and see all sorts of strange, weird and wonderful creatures strolling along the waterfront,” she said.

Check-in time is 9 a.m. at the run’s start location. To register or learn more about this year’s 5K Monster Dash, visit www.nanaimowomen.com.

To learn more or to make a donation to SEIA, contact Chantale Roelens, executive director, at 250-753-0633 or 250-753-2321.



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