More than 500 people are expected to participate in the Coldest Night of the Year Feb. 22.
The Coldest Night of the Year is a family-friendly event that raises funds while raising awareness about the homeless and less fortunate people in the Cloverdale community.
The annual march through the streets of Cloverdale is the Cloverdale Community Kitchen’s biggest fundraiser of the year.
And while the march for the homeless is usually jammed with supporters, Courtney van den Boogaard said there is still a need. “We are still looking for (more) walkers and business sponsors.”
Van den Boogaard, manager of communications for CCK, told the Cloverdale Reporter the walk focuses on community engagement, outreach, and education.
“We walk in the cold and dark to support all those in our community who are being crushed by struggle, trauma, shame and loneliness,” she said. “To them—and to the community that witnesses our trek in the dark—we declare together that ‘Everybody matters. Everybody belongs. And yes, we need each other.’”
The Coldest Night of the Year is part of a nation-wide fundraising walk for homelessness. CNOY is held in towns and cities across Canada and has raised more than $21 million for charity since 2011.
“There are 145 locations participating across Canada. We all walk in solidarity to bring awareness and support to the hungry, hurting, and homeless in each of our local communities,” added van den Boogaard. “The participants get to experience what it is like, for the underhoused, on the street in the cold of winter and hopefully be inspired by the action they’ve taken to help improve the lives of those in need.”
According to van den Boogaard, there is an ever-growing need in Cloverdale for the CCK’s programs. Recently, she said they have started a food club and purchased a cube van for donation pick-ups.
Over the last number of years, CNOY has raised more than $300,000 locally.
This year, CCK has set it’s largest fundraising goal ever, as they are hoping to raise $125,000.
“The monies raised from this event will go towards the community meals, extreme weather shelter, food club, and keeping our truck on the road.”
Last year, the kitchen served more than 12,000 warm meals, supported more than 500 families through the Cloverdale Christmas Hamper Program, supported the homeless during cold snaps through their 25-bed emergency weather shelter, provided clothes to the needy, and supported people struggling to find housing and jobs.
The walk starts at 4 p.m. on Feb. 22, with registration beginning at 3 p.m.
Participants can choose to walk either a two- or five-kilometre route through downtown Cloverdale, starting and ending at the Cloverdale Community Kitchen (5337 180 St.).
“We are grateful to be part of such a wonderful community,” added van den Boogaard. “Cloverdale is an amazing community and we could not do what we do without the support of the local businesses, schools, individuals, churches, and other organizations.”
CNOY walks will also take place in Langley, Whalley, and White Rock. For a full list of locations vist CNOY’s website.
To register, donate, or learn about sponsorship, visit cnoy.org/surreycloverdale. For more information, contact Courtney van den Boogaard at 605-574-4001, or email email@example.com.