Jim Heuving

Cloverdale church hosts ‘Coldest Night of the Year’ event

Walk on Feb. 21 is a fundraiser for the homeless and those living below the poverty line.

The “Coldest Night of the Year” walk is coming to Surrey, so bundle up and get ready to take part.

On Feb. 21 in 82 cities across Canada, teams of walkers will gather to help raise money for the homeless and those who are living below the poverty line.

Participants take part in a two-, five- or 10-kilometre walk, with teams raising money through pledges. Since 2011, the Coldest Night of the Year has raised $4.9 million across Canada, with the funds going to organizations and charities that help the less-fortunate.

“Often organizations struggle with their fundraising and this is a fun, family way to draw people in the community to just walk and raise funds for various organizations,” said Jim Heuving, executive pastor at Pacific Community Church, the host group of the walk in Cloverdale.

“Last year we had the walk and our goal was to raise $30,000 and we raised $64,000. It was a really huge boost.”

Since the church started serving community meals in 2013, the church, located at 5337 180 St., has grown from providing about 30 meals a month to more than 400.

The church hopes to use money raised from Coldest Night of the Year to not only feed those in need, but to increase use of the kitchen for skills training and possible catering opportunities.

The community kitchen sees a cross-section of clients, Heuving says, from the homeless, to the mentally ill, to the working poor, and recently more seniors who are finding it hard to get by have been showing up.

By feeding the less-fortunate, Heuving sees the kitchen as a way to connect those down on their luck with available resources.

“That’s why we call it a community kitchen. It’s a place where people can gather,” he said. “Food is only the front door to connect people with community resources. We have to care for our own.

To get involved in Coldest Night of the Year, walkers can build a team of their own or join an existing group.

For more information on how to get involved, go to www.coldestnightoftheyear.org