Cloverdale walk on 'Coldest Night of the Year' marks kitchen opening

Sean Davie and Alex Suenaga of Original Joe’s Restaurant in Cloverdale will be serving up Irish Stew for participants in Saturday
Sean Davie and Alex Suenaga of Original Joe’s Restaurant in Cloverdale will be serving up Irish Stew for participants in Saturday's Coldest Night of the Year walk.
— image credit: Jennifer Lang / Cloverdale Reporter

It may be billed as the Coldest Night of the Year, but a delicious reward awaits participants in this Saturday evening’s walk to raise operating funds for the new Cloverdale Community Kitchen – a bowl of hearty Irish stew.

Volunteers from Original Joe’s, a trendy eatery in the historic Cloverdale town centre, will be serving up bowls full of their St. Patrick’s Day delicacy: Guinness Irish Stew – enough for 300 hungry hikers and assorted volunteers.

Earlier this week, 26 teams had already pledged upwards of $29,000 towards the new kitchen – well on the way to meeting a target of $30,000 for the Cloverdale walk.

The Feb. 22 event, part of a nation-wide initiative focusing on homelessness and raising money to address their needs, involves a two-, five- or 10-km walk on behalf of the new kitchen, hosted and built by Pacific Community Church.

The event also marks the grand opening of the kitchen, a commercial-grade facility constructed this fall after the congregation raised $400,000 in cash and in-kind donations. Now complete, the kitchen is already serving up hot meals and nourishment for local individuals and families, but it’s not yet known what the operational costs will be, said Cloverdale walk director Jim Heuving.

Currently, there’s a Monday Night Cafe run by volunteers from Pacific Community Church, and a hot lunch Thursdays offered by volunteers from the Korean Presbyterian church, but more community participation will be encouraged to help meet the need through new programs.

“The question will be how to we make the kitchen more accessible?” he said.

Heuving expects at least 200 walkers, but they’re bracing for more, particularly as new registrations come in this week.

It’s one of three walks taking place in Surrey – the other two are helping the Surrey Urban Mission and Sources Community Resources Society – but as of Tuesday, Cloverdale was sitting at 11th out of 63 communities in terms of pledges.

“Cloverdale has really responded in a great way, they should be proud,” he said.

Several local sponsors are helping out with the walk, including PriceSmart and Original Joe’s restaurant, which will be serving up stew. Sean Davie, general manager, said he jumped at the chance to get involved after receiving an email from the Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce. “It’s the first large local event we’ve taken on,” he said.

Rest stops along the way include Surrey Covenant Reformed Church, the Cloverdale Recreation Centre foyer, and MLA Stephanie Cadieux’s office. Surrey RCMP auxiliary will be helping monitor the walkers, who will be on the road from 4:45 p.m. to about 8 p.m.

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