Susan and Jane Roth started The Bear Necessities to raise funds for youth and children in distress. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

Go Bearfoot in the Park and help kids too in Port Alberni

Fundraising event will take place at Blair Park on Aug. 24

Head down to Blair Park this weekend for a family-friendly fundraising walk that will support children and youth in the Alberni Valley.

Bearfoot in the Park is an event set up by the Bear Necessities, a new, non-profit organization that raises funds for children and youth in distress. It will take place on Saturday, Aug. 24 at Blair Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., starting with a walk around the Kitsuksis Dyke, followed by some good food at the park. There will be activities for kids, including a chocolate-dipped strawberry eating contest and a spray park.

The Bear Necessities was started by Alberni Valley resident Susan Roth and her daughter, Jane, to raise funds for various registered charities, with a focus on children and youth.

“We’re starting in Port Alberni,” explained Susan, but she and Jane are interested in expanding to other parts of Canada.

At this time, the organization is fundraising for Alberni Community and Women’s Services Society (ACAWS), where Susan and Jane both work. ACAWS offers two counselling programs for children and youth aged 3-18.

“They’re for children who have witnessed or experienced violence,” Susan explained. “That’s where the name comes from. We’re raising funds for ‘the bare necessities’ for children and youth in life.”

The idea came about after Susan, a cartoonist, drew a picture of a bear wearing a grey Stanfield’s button top—a popular garment in Port Alberni.

“Stanfield’s saw what I’d drawn,” said Susan. “They said, ‘We love your idea, we’d love to do something with you.’ They really want to be helping out in some way. We didn’t expect such a wonderful response.”

Bearfoot in the Park will be the first fundraising event hosted by the organization. Registration is $25 for adults and $20 for children and youth, which includes a Stanfield’s t-shirt and food. One hundred percent of the net profit from the event will go towards ACAWS. You can also pre-register online through or at ACAWS on Third Avenue.

Along with Stanfield’s, Bearfoot in the Park has a number of local sponsors helping to put on the event, including Save-On-Foods, Naesgaard’s Farm & Market, Klubhouse For Kids and Ethigal Blog.

“We have no idea how many people are going to come,” Susan laughed. “It’s our test run.”

“This is just to get our name out there,” Jane added. “So people know who we are.”

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