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Upcoming walk in the cold to launch new community kitchen
Whether it’s the chilliest night of the year – or merely the rainiest – organizers of an upcoming charity fundraiser in Cloverdale are hoping to recruit at least 20 teams to take part in the Coldest Night of the Year walk.
The Feb. 22 event is all part of a nation-wide initiative focusing on raising awareness of homelessness and collecting funds for local non-profits working to address the needs of the homeless.
Locally, teams will walk 2, 5 or 10 km routes through the historic town centre in support of the new Cloverdale Community Kitchen – hosted and built by Pacific Community Church as the result of 14-month-long fundraising campaign.
Nearly up-and-running now that construction is complete, the kitchen will be home to three existing programs assisting Cloverdale’s homeless along with new programs.
Last year, 8,000 walkers braved the nation’s toughest weather (Feb. 22 on average is close to the time of year when Canada’s at its coldest), raising more than $1.6 million for various charities across the country.
The aim is to give participants a taste of what it’s like to experience a cold night spent outdoors, like a homeless person might experience it.
The goal in Cloverdale is to raise $30,000 to help launch the new community kitchen. At least 20 team captains are needed to recruit 7 to 8 of their friends, family members, or coworkers, with a goal of raising $2,000 per team. Walkers without teams, volunteers and sponsors are also needed.
It’s one of three walks taking place in Surrey. The other two are helping the Surrey Urban Mission and Sources Community Resources Society.
Cloverdale walk director Jim Heuving said the opportunity to join in the Coldest Night of the Year was too good to pass up.
“It sounded like a great way to raise awareness on homelessness and focus on the community kitchen,” said Heuving, who’s also a pastor at Pacific Community Church.
The event is the official launch of the Cloverdale Community Kitchen initiative.
“We really need to finance it,” he said.
Between 14 and 15 teams have now signed on for the Cloverdale event, where already $6,000 has been pledged to the cause.
The walk is from 4-8 p.m., but participants on the shorter routes will be done well before 8 p.m., he said. A light meal will be provided when walkers return to the starting line at Pacific Community Church. In the past few weeks, the church has received nearly all the necessary approvals for the new community kitchen from Fraser Health, engineers, the Surrey Fire Department, and the City of Surrey – save one.
The architect did a last inspection on Monday, and the final occupancy permit is imminent.
Meanwhile, supporters can “tour” the new kitchen in a video posted to YouTube on Jan. 16.
The video shows a fully-functional commercial kitchen with all the ingredients, including prep tables and storage, a professional washing system, grill line, convection oven, griddle, monstrous range hood and fans, plus a pantry and walk-in cooler.
It’s everything required for church groups and volunteers to serve up hot meals and meet Food Safe requirements.
Prior to construction, three different church groups including Pacific Community Church were serving up to 70-100 hot meals a week out of facilities that were completely inadequate.
“In many ways the process to fundraise and build the kitchen seems to have been a very long process,” project manager Alan Caldwell told supporters last week.
“However, I was reminded the other evening that from the launch of our $400,000 fundraising campaign for the Cloverdale Community Kitchen to completion has been just a little over 14 months.”
That includes a seven week wait for the building permit, he added.
Support for the project from the community, the church congregation, and the business community has been critical.
“Together we made this happen,” he said. “You made it all possible.”
Caldwell said the completion of a commercial kitchen is only the beginning, because it will spur new programs.
“We are all very excited about what it means to our own church, but what it means we can be doing in terms of [being] a catalyst for our community.”
To get involved with the Coldest Night of the Year as a walker, volunteer or sponsor, contact walk director Jim Heuving at 604-574-4001 or sign up the website: www.coldestnightoftheyear.org and choose “Cloverdale” under the heading for “location.”