The Coldest Night of the Year was a huge success.
A release issued March 10 by the Island Crisis Care Society indicated the annual fundraising and awareness-building event took place in Nanaimo and Parksville on Feb. 26, 2022, with over 430 walkers registered in Nanaimo and nearly 150 in Parksville.
Despite wet and chilly weather, walkers came out in droves and shattered all expectations and fundraising goals, according to organizers. Combined, both locations achieved nearly 125 per cent of their original goals.
Nanaimo alone raised more than $100,000 – double what has been raised in previous years.
“It has been so encouraging to see the way people across our community have come together to make a difference in Coldest Night this year,” said Elspeth Erickson, Nanaimo event director. “It is a way that all of us can make a small difference that together can add up to a big change.”
According to the release, funds raised in the Parksville Qualicum Beach region will be used for outreach programs to give assistance to people who require check-ins and support to maintain their housing. Support will also given to people “living/sleeping rough” –in conjunction with the Oceanside Homelessness Outreach Support Team (HOST).
Every community that participates in a Coldest Night event is co-ordinated and spearheaded by one local agency that works in support of people who have experienced homelessness. Island Crisis Care Society (ICCS) has taken on that role for the past eight years in the Parksville Qualicum Beach region and the past 11 years in Nanaimo.
ICCS has worked in the support sector in Parksville Qualicum Beach and Nanaimo for 32 years to deliver housing and outreach programs for people who have experienced homelessness or precarious housing, and often concurrent substance-use and mental health challenges. The current spectrum of ICCS programming includes 12 programs across seven sites, addressing the needs of over 250 individuals a day who have experienced, or are at risk of, homelessness.
Although the annual fundraising event is finished for the year, it is still possible to donate to CNOY in Parksville Qualicum Beach until the end of March, and can be done so at www.cnoy.org/oceanside.
More information on the programs ICCS provides can be found at www.islandcrisiscaresociety.ca.
– NEWS Staff, submitted