People from the Cowichan Valley will be taking to the streets of Duncan on Feb. 25 to raise money to help those in need.
They will join thousands of others in more than 170 cities across Canada in the annual Coldest Night of the Year event, which is a family friendly winter walk in support of people experiencing hunger, hurt, and homelessness.
The idea is for people to walk through the streets of Duncan to get some sense of what it is to be homeless on a cold winter night while fundraising at the same time.
While this is only the second year the CNOY event will be held in the Cowichan Valley, the fundraiser has been held in communities across Canada since 2011.
Anne Marie Thornton, manager of community engagement for the Cowichan branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association which is hosting the local walk, said in a letter to the Municipality of North Cowichan that the CNOY event is something special.
“It’s fun, meaningful, and a little challenging,” she said.
“CMHA Cowichan Valley Branch is also something special, and our work and service in the community are essential. We hope to build on the momentum of last year’s successful event in which we had 67 teams with 495 walkers raising over $90,000. We anticipate new groups and participants in 2023.”
Thornton said the local CNOY event is being organized in partnership with the Blue Sea Foundation charity.
She said funds raised in Duncan will go to CMHA Cowichan Valley to create a safe space and programs for homeless youth.
“We are seeking team captains, walkers, volunteers and event sponsors,” Thornton said.
“We welcome corporate and business teams, faith groups, community groups, sports teams, family and friends groups, schools and any other groups willing to walk to raise money.”
Thornton said organizers are encouraging teams to challenge others in the community to participate and fundraise.
She said the local goal for 2023 is to raise more than $100,000 to support vulnerable youth.
“I hope both Duncan and North Cowichan mayors and councils will consider getting involved this year,” Thornton said.
For more information, visit www.cnoy.org/location/duncan.