Ten Kamloops men will strut their stuff on May 9 to help benefit local people in crisis.

The Kamloops-based non-profit ASK Wellness Society is hosting its first Mz. Judged pageant to raise money and awareness about stigma and the importance of social inclusion.

“We just have to be more conscious of the way we’re treating our peers, neighbours, and the people that we serve, ensuring that we’re treating them with dignity and inclusion,” ASK Merritt acting director Stacy Wormell said. “Stigmatization can be devastating.”

Proceeds from the event will be distributed through the society as crisis grants through its two offices in Kamloops and Merritt.

ASK Wellness considers any situation that could leave a person or family without adequate food, health, shelter or employment a crisis.

“We get pretty creative to help people push on,” Wormell said, adding the non-profit has gone as far beyond rent, food and clothing as helping someone get insurance on their car so they could make it to work.

Wormell said although the actual event takes place in Kamloops, the benefit will be felt in Merritt.

“Merritt absolutely benefits from lots of the contributions from those fundraisers,” she said. “These funds are desperately, desperately needed.”

Merrittonians might remember the Mz. Judged pageant Nicola Family Therapy held as a fundraiser in 2012.

ASK HR director Cheryl Doolan said that’s where the idea for this one came from.

Doolan said the satirical pageant is meant to entertain the audience, but its message is to reserve judgement based on outward appearances.

“Everyone, no matter what their gender, no matter what their race, are all just the same,” she said.

Chris Rose, the namesake for the Chris Rose Therapy Centre for Autism in Kamloops, will be one of the contestants. Other contestants include ASK executive director Bob Hughes, a local comedian and a Kamloops city councillor.

Wormell said she heard the message of inclusion summarized by a client during his intake process in November.

While she was asking him questions to narrow down his demographics, he said he is just like her.

Wormell said that message was profound given the perceived differences between them.

“He had something to give me that day,” she said. “[It’s] just realizing we all have something to offer.”

To donate a prize to the silent auction, contact Wormell at 250-315-0098 or Doolan at 250-376-7558, extension 226.

The event takes place on May 9 at Kamloops’ Rex Theatre.

Tickets are available at kamloopslive.ca.