The coldest night of the year is fast approaching, but it has nothing to do with what Mother Nature has in store for us.
No, this Coldest Night of the Year is a fundraiser walk supporting the Sooke Shelter Society, and it’s on Feb. 26.
For the third year in a row, Sooke residents are encouraged to sign up to walk either two or five kilometres, in teams or solo, to raise $20,000 to help the shelter provide support to those experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness.
“It is a fundraiser that puts a big dent in our funding needs each year,” said Kristie Miller, Sooke Shelter Society homelessness coordinator. “It helps us to be able to supply people with blankets, clothing, food, things like that.”
Over the past few years, Miller said the shelter had seen demand for its services steadily rise as inflation, rising housing costs and the pandemic have left their impacts on people from all walks of life. That, combined with the difficulties many non-profits have had fundraising amidst public health restrictions, means every last cent raised during the walk will be appreciated.
So far, 17 teams and more than 70 walkers have registered to participate in the walk, pledging more than $9,000.
This year’s walk route starts and ends at the gazebo in front of Evergreen Centre, and the five-kilometre course features a rest stop along the way offering snacks and hot chocolate.
Check-in opens at 4 p.m., and all participants must first register online in advance of the event and then check in on the day. No donations will be accepted in person the day of the event, with those interested in participating asked to sign-up and make their donation online at cnoy.org.
Individuals who raise more than $150 will receive a special Coldest Night of the Year toque as a thank-you.
Those looking for more information or who have any questions can contact Melanie Cunningham by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 250-208-5644.