Organizers of this year’s Coldest Night of the Year walk in support of homelessness, Valery Puetz and Diane Palmer of the Campbell River and North Island Transition Society, chat with Coun. Charlie Cornfield before Monday’s meeting of city council. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

Coldest Night of the Year 2018 gets backing of Campbell River city council

Event still looking for volunteers, walkers and sponsors to support reducing homelessness

The Campbell River and North Island Transition Society (CRNITS) has taken over the reigns of this year’s annual Coldest Night of the Year walk in support of homelessness and those less fortunate among us, and two representatives were on hand to present to city council this week to ask for support and call for volunteers.

Valery Puetz, executive director of CRNITS, along with thrift store manager and event director Diane Palmer, presented to council Monday, saying the annual event will support the society in their efforts to provide safe shelter and services for women and children in our community.

“Last year, the Ann Elmore Transition House provided short-term housing to 237 women and children – 47 of which were children,” Puetz told council. “Our biggest concern is the severe lack of appropriate housing for our clients and others. Appropriate means safe, affordable and accessible, not just affordable.”

The society’s “number one priority,” Puetz says, “is to increase the amount of supported and subsidized housing in Campbell River, and that’s why we’re hosting Coldest Night of the Year – to support that goal.”

The annual fundraising walk, Palmer says, is held in over 120 locations across the country, but each community’s event supports the efforts of the local organizations putting them on.

CRNITS, Palmer says, is hoping to raise $25,000 through the event, but in order to accomplish that, they need sponsors and volunteers.

“That could be a community service agency or business agency that would like to be associated with us and the event, team captains that would like to recruit six to eight people to form a team and walkers who would sign up either under an existing team or their own.”

They are also asking for donations via their website, cnoy.org/location/campbellriver, which is also where participants can register.

The event starts at 5:15 p.m. Feb. 24 at the Navy League Hall on 13th Avenue – registration begins at 4 p.m. – and circles through downtown, returning to the hall for chili and warm refreshments afterwards.

“I want to thank the Transition Society for taking this on,” mayor Andy Adams says. “I think it’s an important event, and I certainly look forward to adding to my repertoire of Coldest Night of the Year toque collection.”

Coun. Marlene Wright says she already has a team started through Rotary, and said that, in case it helps anyone make the decision to pledge, “any donation of $25 or more gets you a tax receipt, so it’s really a win-win for everyone. It’s really an important thing that our community needs and I think, one step at a time, we can really make a difference.”

Later in Monday’s meeting, mayor Adams signed the official proclamation from the city declaring Feb. 24 as the Coldest Night of the Year.

“I hope to see all of you out there that night, donning the toques in support of one of council’s strategic priorities, which is caring for our most vulnerable,” Adams says. “We all have a role to play in ensuring we recognize that having a home is a human right and that homelessness effects the community as a whole.”