The Coldest Night of the Year is set for Feb. 25, and organizers of the annual fundraiser are preparing for the first in-person event in two years.
Coldest Night of the Year is a fun, family-friendly fundraising walk, with proceeds supporting programming for people who have experienced homelessness or precarious housing in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area, according to a news release.
The event allows participants to experience a small sliver of what it is like to be out in the cold and come together in community action for change.
This year’s theme is “Gather for Good”, with the reminder that after two years of being apart, now we can gather to create a positive impact.
“Even more, ‘Gather for Good’ is a powerful reminder of how when we work together, we can make a real difference for one another, and for our community,” the release read.
Participants and supporters must register in advance to set a fundraising goal. Those who sign up will come together to walk in the early evening of Saturday, Feb. 25, when a 2-kilometre route and a 5-kilometre route will be laid out in Parksville Community Park.
Gathering and check-in will begin at 4 p.m., with opening remarks at 5 p.m., followed by the launch of the walk, according to the release.
“The issue and impact of homelessness is very real in our community – and it can sometimes seem overwhelming. People want to make a difference, but don’t know how to do it,” said Elspeth Erickson, ICCS event director for Parksville Qualicum Beach and Nanaimo. “Participating in Coldest Night of the Year is the chance for everyday people – people like you and me – to step up and do something small and tangible which can contribute to positive change. Just signing up, reaching out to our friends to support and walking together on February 25th can make a big difference for our community.”
Island Crisis Care Society (ICCS) has spearheaded coordination in the PQB area for the last nine years. ICCS has been working for 33 years, delivering 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 13 programs across eight sites addressing the needs of over 250 individuals a day who have experienced or are at risk of homelessness. Coldest Night funding will support all of this work, with an emphasis on innovative, client-centred programming that has an impact on client well-being – programming like Project Rise that provides employment training and work placements to help people return to independence and community life.
Participants who fundraise $150 or more ($75 for children and youth aged 17 and under) will receive a Coldest Night of the Year toque.
For more information or to sign up, go to cnoy.org/oceanside.
For more information on the programs of Island Crisis Care Society, visit: islandcrisiscaresociety.ca or contact via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
— NEWS Staff, submitted
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