Late February in Nanaimo may not bring the same kind of cold as Northern B.C. or even Newfoundland, but it’s still challenging for individuals struggling to maintain regular housing.
And that’s exactly the point of the nationwide Coldest Night of the Year walk, on Feb. 22.
“The whole idea behind Coldest Night of the Year is to represent what it might be like being out in the cold at night, going to a soup kitchen and receiving the kindness of others,” says Violet Hayes, executive director of the Island Crisis Care Society. “There’s a great sense of camaraderie over having a purpose for what you’re doing. It’s an amazing experience!”
With the help of other local organizations and businesses, including the Salvation Army where this year’s event will be held, ICCS is staging its ninth annual Coldest Night event in Nanaimo, with a goal of raising $60,000.
“The money raised through this event goes to support the 12 different programs currently offered by Island Crisis Care Society,” says Corrie Corfield, ICCS assistant executive director. “It helps us to provide more meaningful supports to those experiencing or at risk of homelessness.”
Here’s how the money you raise will help in Nanaimo:
- Keeping programs up and running – ICCS operates seven different sites and 12 separate programs for people facing crises in the community. “There’s a lot required to keep operational those programs that support people every day,” Corrie says.
- Moving people forward – ICCS provides supports for clients’ psychological and social development, running programs that enhance life skills, potential job skills and community interaction, and helping them find and maintain stable housing. “Those are the pieces that are really essential to programs like ours, for people that have been marginalized to get the knowledge and the skills to move forward,” Corrie adds.
- Nighttime warmth and cleanliness – Donated dollars will help provide client care items such as clean pyjamas and nightwear, as well as basic toiletries and supplies for clients in ICCS housing and those struggling outside.
Join a team, walk with family or coworkers, or donate
Nanaimo’s Coldest Night of the Year event starts and ends at the Salvation Army Community Church, 505-8th St., and features three routes: two, five or 10 kilometres. Signing up is easy! Just visit cnoy.org to learn how you can get involved in Nanaimo, or call 1-877-743-3413 toll free.