Paul Mason puts his Coldest Night of the Year toque on to encourage people to sign up for the Coldest Night of the Year Walk and raise money for the homeless in Campbell River on Feb. 21.

Get ready to walk for the homeless

Organizers of Campbell River’s second annual Coldest Night of the Year walk setting sights on raising $30,000

The Coldest Night of the Year is not a time to stay home and huddle by the television, it’s a night to get out and walk to raise money for the homeless.

Organizers of Campbell River’s second annual Coldest Night of the Year walk, being held Saturday, Feb. 21, is setting its sights on raising $30,000 this year. And they’re looking for walkers.

“Last year we raised over $33,000,” said Paul Mason, a coordinator for Campbell River Family Services (CRFS) and one of the Campbell River walk’s organizers. “Our goal last year was $25,000, so our goal this year is $30,000.”

The Coldest Night of the Year is a fun, family-friendly walking fundraiser that raises money for the hungry, homeless and hurting in 70 communities across Canada.

The 2, 5 and 10 km walk provides participants the opportunity to experience a hint of the challenges faced by those experiencing homelessness while raising much needed revenue for their favourite local charity.

Since 2011, the Coldest Night of the Year has raised $4.9 million dollars.

All of the funds for this year’s walk in Campbell River will go towards CRFS’ sobering assessment centre and hub which is slated for downtown Campbell River on Fir Street.

A sobering centre is completely different from a shelter where clients stay overnight. At a sobering assessment centre, they are assessed, put in to an interim bed until they’re fit to go into the shelter at Evergreen. The facility will be open 24/7, 365 days a year and provide a valuable link between the homeless and community service providers. There will also be a nurse on staff to work with clients.

Over 70 cities in Canada are holding Coldest Night of the Year walks. It’s very simple to register a team, Mason said. Just go to the website (www.coldestnightoftheyear.org) and look up the Campbell River location (https://coldestnightoftheyear.org/location/campbellriver) and follow the step-by-step instructions.

The walk itself is a fun evening, Mason says.

“Last year was great,” he says. “Two-hundred-and-thirty people walked the downtown core.”

The process has begun to sign up walkers for this year’s event.

“We need teams, we need people, we need businesses,” Mason said.

Registration for the walk opens on Feb. 21 at 4 p.m. All walkers must check-in and sign a waiver form before participating.

The walk begins at 5:15 p.m. for all distances. Between 6 and 8 p.m. a warm, light meal will be served to all walkers and volunteers. So, be sure to linger afterwards, share some laughs, hang with some friends and celebrate the walk – at least till you warm up.

Walkers who raise $150 (adults) or $75 (youth aged 10-17) do not have to pay the $25 registration fee.

Campbell River Family Services Society, a non-profit, charitable organization has been providing quality services to individual, children and families living in the Campbell River area since 1977. CRFSS is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors and is staffed by qualified, dedicated individuals at all levels of the organization.

Their programs and services include support, counseling, education, prevention and crisis intervention. Campbell River Family Services Society has been accredited by C.A.R.F. (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) since November 2004.

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