Unique display showcased in Barrie storefront aims to raise awareness

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Four faces of recovery will be showcased in a downtown Barrie storefront.

Starting May 7 at 8 a.m., four volunteers will perch in a window display for 24 hours at the 705 Recovery Community Centre to raise funds and awareness about people in the community in recovery from addictions or for those who have mental health concerns.

However, it won't be easy.

705 founder Christine Gordon said the one advocate and three recovery volunteers would be planted in the windows with little but the clothes on their backs.

"They will have absolutely nothing. There will be live (online or in-person) donations, and they'll be asking people to donate money to buy a chair to sit on," Gordon said, "Or the bidders will be paying money to see the volunteers give up their phone – or take the chair away."

With more than 300 visitors weekly to the centre at 56 Dunlop Street West, Gordon says staff follow up with its guests and believes they have a 90 per cent success rate in helpful recovery.

The non-profit organization offers space for meetings, events, education and recovery support from 12-step meetings and two on-call therapists.

Last year's 24-hour Raise-a-Thon for Recovery event raised $35,000 from area residents enabling the centre to remain open.

Once again, executive director Bill Zane is hopeful for community participation.

"It's honestly incredible to see support for the 705 and the four people in the window. The centre wouldn't be here without it," Zane said of the fundraiser.

During the 2nd Annual 24HR Window, people can donate money to help make the participants stay in the window more comfortable or to play pranks on them, he said.

"Last year, there were pies in the face as well as all sorts of challenges and competitions. But more so, the community helped make their stay in the window more comfortable with blankets, food, pillows, walks and bathroom breaks. It was a really great time."

People are encouraged to donate online or come down to the 705 Recovery Community Centre during the event to participate in the fun.

More information on the 24hr Window; Raise-a-Thon for Recovery, as well as a list of all meetings and events, can be found on the 705 website.