MEDIA ADVISORY – For Immediate Release

VICTORIA, Dec. 21, 2012 – While most Island families will be tucked away in warm, cozy beds this Christmas Eve, local homeless advocate Reverend Al Tysick is encouraging citizens to join him in a candlelit vigil for Canada’s poor at midnight on the legislature steps. “For most of us, the weeks before Christmas are just a race to get there,” says Tysick. “We can easily lose sight of what matters. But at this special time of year, it’s important to come together and remember those in our city and nation who have died because of homelessness, or who are still suffering in poverty – those who don’t have as much. I can’t think of a better way to spend Christmas Eve.” Tysick is asking people to bring their own candles. “We’ll carry own little signposts of Christmas,” he says. Anyone is welcome to join.

Tysick is no stranger to taking action. Every weekday he hits the streets at 5am to distribute socks, blankets, muffins, and encouragement. With a small but dedicated team of volunteers from his organization, the Dandelion Society, Al sets out before dawn to make sure Victoria’s homeless have made it through the night. But he explains that pausing to reflect is just as important as taking action. “No one coming to a vigil like this goes home unchanged,” says Tysick. “When you really stop and remember the suffering of others with an open heart, something happens. You recognize what’s wrong with this world, you grow in compassion and you realize that it doesn’t have to be like this. After all, isn’t Christmas about being united in hope?”

This year, Reverend Al and the rest of the Dandelion Society will be remembering countless homeless friends who passed away in 2012. This year, a record high number of people died on Victoria’s streets. Since January, Reverend Al has conducted 74 funerals – and over 30 people passed away in summer alone. “It doesn’t have to be like this,” he says. “Which is one of the reasons vigils like this are so important. By coming together to remember, we commit to a brighter future.”

EVENT DETAILS
What: A candlelit vigil to remember Canada’s poor and homeless.
Where: Legislature steps
When: Meet at 11:45pm for a Midnight vigil
Who: Anyone!

Contact: Rev. Al Tysick 250.883.7762, reval@hopeliveshere.ca