Campbell River youth came out in force to support the second annual Coldest Night of the Year benefit walk Saturday afternoon. See more photos on page 4.

Coldest Night feels Campbell River’s warmth

More than 200 participants raised well over $22,000 to benefit the homeless

With bright sun and blue skies overhead, the Coldest Night of the Year benefit walk hardly lived up to its billing.

But it did draw more than 200 participants who raised well over $22,000 to benefit Campbell River Family Services Society in its efforts to assist the homeless and establish a sobering assessment centre downtown.

“It’s fantastic,” said Paul Mason, organizer of the second annual walk in Campbell River, part of a larger, nationwide series of fundraisers. “We’re still counting and donations are still coming in.

“The community has just been fantastic.”

Among the walkers were members of Campbell River City Council and the Strathcona Regional District board, along with volunteers and staffers of other social services organizations in the community.

Following registration at the Community Centre gym, walkers — many wearing “Coldest Night” toques and carrying signs — departed into the setting sun for a 5-km loop of downtown streets.

Afterward, they were treated to free chili served by the food volunteers, coffee provided by Tim Hortons, and live music from the band Inclusion.

“On behalf of Campbell River Family Services Society, I’m extremely grateful for all the people who volunteered and who came out,” said Mason.