Backpackers hit fundraising benchmark for Nepal

Efforts to raise cash for Nepal Red Cross exceed expectations, and funds will help build makeshift shelter for homeless

Villagers in Nepal find shelter from the rain where they can

Villagers in Nepal find shelter from the rain where they can

A group of backpackers that includes Chilliwack’s Shaun Monty has raised more than $10,000 for the Nepal Red Cross. Now, they’re hoping for even more.

The group gathered together in an online appeal for cash after the devastating earthquake ripped through Nepal April 25. They had initially asked supporters to reach into their pockets to raise the $10,000. But that’s a mere drop in the bucket for the amount that will be needed to get the country back on its feet. Half a million tents are needed as temporary shelter for the country’s citizens, as the impending monsoon season approaches.

The new benchmark that the group has set out is $25,000. Early this week, they were more than halfway there with almost $13,000.

Monty is now back home in Chilliwack, but many international backpackers are still in areas of Nepal.

This is summit season, said Sam Waddington, a city councillor who also is also an experienced climber and owner of Mt. Waddington Outdoors, where Monty is an employee.

“Two of our ambassador athletes were in the area doing some mountaineering,” Waddington said, when the earthquake hit.

“I was actually in the Atlanta airport at the time,” he said. “I sent him a message and got word that he was okay about six hours later.”

He said they had a list of about 10 or 12 people they knew and were concerned about, and that they’ve heard from all of them now. He said there is lots of work to be done in Nepal to help, from road building to water treatment.

“The effects down the road can worse,” he said, as cities and villages run out of resources and impassable roads limit aid.

“We’re contributing to the Red Cross, and raising awareness through social media,” Waddington added.

There is a donation box in his store on Vedder Road near Garrison Crossing. There will also be a by donation yoga class at Tzeachten Hall on Thursday, May 7 at 7 p.m.