Nanaimo’s Coldest Night of the Year event will take place at Maffeo Sutton Park on Feb. 26. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)

Community members in Nanaimo asked to brave elements on Coldest Night of the Year

Fundraiser benefiting Island Crisis Care Society takes place Feb. 26 at Maffeo Sutton Park

After COVID-19 forced the Coldest Night of the Year walk to be held virtually last year, participants will again brave the elements for this year’s event.

The fundraiser for the Island Crisis Care Society will take place Saturday, Feb. 26, at Maffeo Sutton Park. Elspeth Erickson, Coldest Night of the Year event coordinator for Nanaimo, said people can still participate virtually, but she is pleased that 2022 will see a return to an in-person, outdoor event. Money raised will go toward “innovative programs” assisting people experiencing homelessness, including Project Rise, a four-week training program preparing clients for the workplace.

“Folks can learn things from how to communicate, write a resumé, get to work on time, to even more intense practical skills like how to manage a workplace conflict, financial literacy, document literacy, right down to things like food share, and first aid for clients who may be going to placements that need those things,” said Erickson.

That will be followed by eight weeks of work placement at local businesses, where said people will get practical experience on the job.

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As is tradition, people will get a keepsake tuque if fundraising targets are met. This year’s tuque is yellow and cable-knit with a multi-coloured patch.

“The patch is really beautiful because it’s showing really an image of hope,” said Erickson. “So you’ve got the iconic snowflake … the Coldest Night of the Year symbol, but it’s this rainbow of mountains above a cityscape just showing that even though when you look down in a city, it can be kind of dreary and glum. Actually, we all need to look up to that hope.”

The society has its sights set on raising $75,000 and as of earlier this week, more than $47,400 had been raised.

Two- and five-kilometre routes are options for participants and volunteers are also being sought.

“In order to make a community event of this size go smoothly, we would love to have people sign up to be volunteers as well as participants,” said Erickson. “We’ll need people at the start just to help encourage other walkers. We’ll need people monitoring along the walk, and I think that will be a lot of fun too.”

To volunteer, donate or for more information on the event, go to http://cnoy.org/location/nanaimo.

RELATED: City asks B.C. gov’t for complex care housing in Nanaimo

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reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

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