LONDON, ONT. -- Western University researcher Abe Oudshoorn and City Councillor Arielle Kayabaga raised nearly $9,000 on Saturday for Winter Interim Solution to Homelessness (WISH).

Oudshoorn who doubles as a cyclist, jumped on his stationary bike for a 300 kilometre journey that lasted nearly 10 hours, to raise money for WISH.

“I am feeling like a two out of 10. Just taking the stairs one at a time.”

WISH has been involved in the city’s two temporary COVID-19 pop-up shelters for the homeless, located near Carling Heights Optimist community centre. 

Oudshoorn streamed the journey online and raised approximately $3,000 dollars during his ride, with an additional $1,200 donated beforehand.

To encourage people to tune in and donate, Oudshoorn let viewers add songs to his personal playlist.

“They could choose to pick something inspiration…but they could also be funny. I had Baby Shark in there, someone had Rick Astley’s, ‘RickRoll’d.”

Councillor Kayabaga held an instagram after-party with local musicians, tuning in virtually, to keep the fundraiser going.

“I think supporting the members who are experiencing homelessness is a big deal,” said Kayabaga.

At the end of Saturday, the two raised a total of $8,500 and counting.

“A lot of times when get people into housing or shelter, there are a lot of details that are missed. This (donation) is one of the ways that we can all say, ‘hey let's retain people into housing, let's support the people who are in temporary shelters to be comfortable.’”

Sarah Campbell, project Lead for Wish, says the first temporary pop-up shelter site was opened before Christmas providing a warm spot for 30 people, with an additional 30 to be sheltered in just a few weeks time.

“It is so impressive. I got to tell you there has been nothing short of miraculous support for anything related to this project.”

The City of London has funded the shelters built using a collection of trailers but the donations raised will cover comfort items and other expenses.

“That looks like things like slippers and pyjamas and bus tickets and transportation to their medical appointments.”

The money is also being saved for possible future projects.

“The group of 18 organizations that made up the WISH coalition are beginning to dream of what is going to happen after April so these funds are really seed funds.”

To learn more about Wish or to donate if you can, click here.