A community walk for homelessness in February will help feed needy Cloverdale residents – and help furnish the new Bill Reid Memorial Shelter.
The organizer of the Coldest Night of the Year event in Cloverdale is hoping to recruit dozens of teams to take part in the 2016 walk for homelessness initiatives.
Jim Heuving is hoping there will be at least 50 teams this year, an ambitious goal, but one that’s not necessarily out of reach.
Speaking at a Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce lunch last month, Heuving said he’s hoping people will sign up as team leaders or join a team for the walk.
Nearly 200 people on 30 teams turned out on a “beautiful Saturday evening” in Cloverdale last February, raising $40,000 for the Cloverdale Community Kitchen, a commercial-grade kitchen that’s home to three weekly hot meal programs serving Cloverdale’s less fortunate.
Heuving is executive pastor at Pacific Community Church, which is partnering with Options Community Services for the Feb. 20 walk.
Teams will be raising funds to buy food for the Cloverdale Community Kitchen and furnishings for the Bill Reid Memorial House, with proceeds split 50/50.
The Coldest Night of the Year is an annual campaign hosted in more than 80 cities across Canada.
Teams walk 2, 5 or 10km routes and collect fundraising pledges in support of a local charity that assists homeless and homelessness initiatives.
In Cloverdale, the Coldest Night of the Year is sponsored by Pacific Community Church, which runs the Cloverdale Community Kitchen, using money raised through the local walk.
“This is a fun way to do it,” Heuving said, adding the walk gets different sectors of the community together in support of a common cause.
New shelter planned
Work is already underway to bring fill to the site at 17752 Colebrook Road in Cloverdale, where construction of a new shelter and transition housing will get underway next year.
The new shelter will replace Cloverdale Hyland House, a 10-bed shelter nearby.
Options is working in partnership with BC Housing, the City of Surrey, the Surrey Homelessness Society, the Cloverdale BIA and other partners on the project – described as a therapeutic farm community that will be named in honour of the late Bill Reid, an immense supporter of the project.
Reid was a former MLA and executive director of the Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce who was instrumental in bringing the business community and local government to work on a community solution to homelessness.
In November, the Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society kicked off a $300,000 fundraising drive for the Bill Reid Memorial Shelter, which will include 16 shelter beds and 12 transition beds when complete.
The $4 million facility will be largely paid for by B.C. Housing.
“Cloverdale is really unique,” said Peter Fedos, senior program manager with Options Community Services, explaining that the community is a place where “people who know how to get things done, is the best way to describe it.”
Reid, he said, was instrumental in getting the project off the ground. “Bill had a way of sucking you into his wake,” Fedos said, referring to his ability network. “Then, you’d get a call and he’d say, ‘There’s something else we need you to do.’”
Fedos estimates that in the past six years, 1,800 people have gone through the doors of Cloverdale Hyland House.
The new facility will have a larger capacity and offer more supportive services that will help people leave homelessness behind.
“Any money that we can raise will help towards the cost of building,” he said.
To register, visit coldestnightoftheyear.org.