200 brave the snow for a cause

Hirst House in Parksville is one of the beneficiaries

It may not have been the coldest night this winter, but the ‘Coldest Night of the Year’ fundraiser did take place on one of the snowiest, with about 200 Oceanside and Nanaimo residents walking two, five or 10 kilometre loops to raise funds and awareness.

On Saturday, Feb. 22, supporters of the Island Crisis Care Society’s gathered at John Barsby Community School in Nanaimo to don themed toques, turn in their pledges and walk the slippery streets to raise more than $31,000 for their shelter services including Hirst House in Parksville.

“It’s a great feeling,” one walker said over the bagpipes marking the beginning of the walk. “To be with all these people here, and to know that all across Canada people share the same goal.”

The walk was part of a national effort in 63 communities that raised over $2.2 million.

The funds will help meet the needs of hungry, hurting and homeless people through emergency shelter services for women and crisis stabilization programs for men and women in Nanaimo and Parksville.

The ICCS works with other local agencies to identify and fill gaps in services according to a news release. These include low barrier highly supported housing, and high barrier low support transitional housing, and rental subsidies.

The walk was sponsored by numerous local businesses and Nanaimo Mayor John Ruttan, MLA Leonard Krog and MP James Lunney spoke at the opening ceremony.

For more information and to donate visit www.iccare.ca.