Walking the coldest night of the year

The Coldest Night of the Year is a night-time fundraiser Feb. 21 for the hungry, hurting and homeless of Chilliwack.

Mayor Sharon Gaetz joins Sheila Scobie

Mayor Sharon Gaetz joins Sheila Scobie

It might be a little chilly out there.

The Coldest Night of the Year is a night-time fundraiser Feb. 21 for the hungry, hurting and homeless of Chilliwack.

“We are hoping to have 25 teams join us,” said Tim Bohr, director of community ministries for Salvation Army.

Teams will be heading out  from the Salvation Army Church at around dusk to complete 2km, 5km or 10km walks to help the local soup kitchen and homeless shelter.

They are aiming to raise $25,000.

The Salvation Army and Kiwanis Clubs of Chilliwack and Sardis are partnering up for the second year to host the special fundraiser.

“The money we raised will also go toward helping us increase capacity to house the homeless,” said Bohr. “Our shelter provides a 30-day program designed to transition those affected by homelessness from the streets into sustainable, affordable housing.”

They helped 113 people get off the streets last year.

“The other beneficiary of this event will be the Soup Kitchen, which provided a total of 26,836 meals to the Homeless last year.

With recent efforts by city officials, in collaboration with community partners, to take a compassionate, proactive approach to problem homeless camps, this event provides caring citizens of

Chilliwack the opportunity to do something tangible that will directly help the homeless,” said Bohr.

They held a press conference at City Hall on Friday to launch the Coldest Night fundraiser, as the location on Young Road is along the 2km route for the walk.

Mayor Sharon Gaetz said she was happy to take part in 2014, and is gearing up to run the 10km loop again this year.

“I’m so pleased to support this worthy endeavour,” she said.

Walkers with the Coldest Night will get a better understanding of the experience of homelessness and living on the streets, as well as raising funds to help the needy.

The walk begins and ends at The Salvation Army Church on Brooks Avenue, where folks register, and then come back for a celebration meal at the end of the evening.

Coldest Night walks are taking place on the same night, Feb. 21, in about 80 cities.

Residents are asked to join a team, or register on their own at coldestnightoftheyear.org/chilliwack. Make sure to choose the one marked ‘SalvationArmy/Kiwanis’ from the list of charities.