Walkers brave snow to help others

NANAIMO – Coldest Night of the Year event helps raise money for homeless.

Walkers trudge through snowy conditions during the annual Coldest Night of the Year

Walkers trudge through snowy conditions during the annual Coldest Night of the Year

It may not have technically been the coldest night this winter, but it ended up being one of the snowiest.

On Feb. 22, about 200 Nanaimo and Parksville-area residents gathered at John Barsby Secondary School in Nanaimo to don Coldest Night of the Year tuques, turn in their pledges, and walk together down the wet and slippery streets to raise moeny for the Island Crisis Care Society.

The snow never let up and neither did the walker’s resolve to finish the two-, five and 10-kilometer loops around Harewood, South Nanaimo, and the Old City Quarter.

Sixty-three communities across Canada participated in the event this year and collectively raised a national total of $2,215,612.

The goal is to meet the needs of hungry, hurting, and homeless people by supporting local charities in each community.

The funds raised for Nanaimo and Parksville so far this year total $31,212.95 and will support emergency shelter services for women, and crisis stabilization programs for both men and women in both communities.

These programs are front-line responses providing shelter, meals, and support workers at what is often the most vulnerable time in a person’s life.

Besides giving volunteers comraderie and a sense of contributing to a worthy cause, the event also gave walkers a feel for what it is like to be outside, tired, and hungry on a cold snowy night in February.

More than 46 volunteers helped serve hot food and beverages after the walk.

Donations can be made at www.coldestnightoftheyear.org (choose Nanaimo from the location menu) or donate directly to the crisis society at www.iccare.ca.