“Keep the Camino Alive”
If you find yourself wishing there was something concrete you could do to help support albergues and other pilgrim businesses along the Camino that are struggling because of COVID-19….We have a suggestion for you! Donate to the “Keep the Camino Alive” fundraising campaign.
Altogether so far, funds in excess of $50,000 have been used to ‘Keep the Camino Alive’ identified by the green stars in the accompanying map.
The idea for fundraising came about as all good Camino ideas do: 4 pilgrims, enjoying a café con leche after a long walk in May 2020 and lamenting all the travel plans that had to be cancelled, including planned Caminos. Spain was basically closed down and everyone was very socially distanced from both walks and coffees. Les said, “Well, I guess this is COVID Camino”. We all stared at him, thought about the closed albergues and quickly jumped to “how can we help them?” And then Dennis offered (or was he pushed?) to design a badge to help with the fundraising. A list of albergues and businesses needing help was compiled with the thought that if word got out $2,000 could be raised. Well, the rest, they say, is history. Victoria Chapter raised $2,000 in the first two weeks and went on the raise and send to Spain a total of $20,000. As 2020 came to a close and this campaign was coming to an end, CCoP believed there was still a need to support businesses on the Camino to Santiago de Compostela. Thus, the ‘Keep the Camino Alive’ National CCoP fundraising campaign was created and launched for the Holy Years 2021 and 2022. With thanks to Dennis Tam the ‘Keep the Camino Alive’ badge was designed and will be worn with pride on the packs of our generous donors. Albergues and businesses that have received funds from our campaign have also received badges and wear them on their shirts or display them in their welcome area. A list of these businesses is provided and we encourage you to support them or drop in and say ‘Hello’ when you are on the Camino.
What are the funds being used for?
Many albergues and small businesses that rely on pilgrims are struggling financially and are fighting to survive. Unfortunately, many businesses have closed due to the lack of pilgrims since March 2020. Those remaining continue to incur ongoing expenses on drastically reduced revenues. Businesses that are still open (or planning to re-open) will have to incur additional costs to meet COVID-19 protocols (such as new mattress and pillow covers, hand washing/sanitizing stations, additional cleaning) and often to renovate their existing space.
The much-needed money is being used to support devastated individuals and businesses that mainly serve pilgrims along the Camino. Funds may be used to help with operating costs, to pay for renovations, or to accommodate additional costs to meet the new COVID-19 protocols. The ultimate goal is to ‘Keep the Camino Alive’.
How are the recipients selected?
Our donation committee relies on suggestions by our CCoP members and chapters, our contacts in Spain, the Camino Forums, Egeria House, and communications with hosts on the Camino to identify those businesses that are in most need. Our constant communication with these contacts allows us to respond to any need very quickly. The committee works together to review and quickly approve the donation requests and then forwards these funds immediately.
The recipients of our donations are so very grateful and have expressed their thanks in photos and emails. View our ‘Thanks and Photos’ page If you’d like to see how they love Canadians.
What businesses and albergues has CCoP supported?
CCoP has already allocated funds to a number of businesses, thanks to generous donations from our members. We encourage you to consult our list of these businesses for your future pilgrimages, so you can visit them and identify yourself as a member of CCoP. This will allow us to continue building and strengthening the relationships our campaign has begun. Our map indicates where these businesses are located.
How much should I donate?
A typical day on the Camino generally costs about 35€ or $50 Canadian. Donate “A Day on the Camino” or a few days, or as much as you wish!
Will I get any recognition of my donation?
CCoP is not a registered charity; therefore we cannot issue a charitable tax receipt. However, for each $50 donation, you will receive a special CCoP Holy Years badge. If you are not interested in a badge, any amount is welcomed. As a volunteer organization our costs are minimal and we are able to donate almost every dollar received to support Camino businesses.
Why are the dates 2021-2022?
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the Pope has declared that there will be two consecutive Holy Years. Double Holy Years are rare. The relics of St. James were hidden during Sir Francis Drake’s raids on the Spanish coasts and lost for several centuries. After their rediscovery in 1879 and papal validation in 1884, there was a special extra Holy Year added in 1885 before the regular one in 1886.
Another double Holy Year took place in 1937-1938 when Spain was in the middle of a devastating Civil War. Fascist general Francisco Franco and his Republican opponents engaged in what many historians now view as a dress rehearsal for World War II.
How can I donate?
Donating is easy and simple. Simply sign in as a member. Upon payment by credit card, you will receive a “Thank You” confirmation email. As a Canadian non-soliciting Not-for-Profit Corporation, the CCoP can accept donations only from members. Sign up to become a member.
We all desire to keep the Camino alive so that one day we will once again all have the opportunity to enjoy the pilgrim experience of a wonderful day’s walk, a delicious café con leche at a bar, a vino tinto with a pilgrim meal, and an overnight stay at our favourite albergue. Your donation is your gift back to the Camino and your generosity will be greatly appreciated.