For some walkers in Canada, Saturday, February 23, 2019 was a relatively warm night, for others the temperature dipped well below frost burn levels, yet everybody ran, walked or strolled on the Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) to help other human beings travelling on their journey of life.
According to CNOY (cnoy.org) in early March, 21,512 people, comprising 3,364 teams, in 133 locations across Canada walked either 5 or 10 kms. Supported by 5,114 volunteers and 1,465 sponsors they surpassed this year’s goal of five million dollars.
“Each step we take brings someone closer to safety, health and home, as together, we raise funds for organizations whose commitment and work transforms peoples’ lives,” CNOY states as their mission or cause.
Downtown St. Catharines came alive as 350 people filled the streets to raise money for Start Me Up Niagara.
Start Me Up Niagara operates a vibrant Outreach Centre serving those in the Niagara Region who are experiencing significant life challenges such as poverty, homelessness, unemployment, addictions and mental illness.
Anglicans In Action, with the help of the recently formed Greater St. Catharines Social Justice Network, greatly expanded its impact over previous years. The 18 members on the team came from five Anglican parishes in the Greater St. Catharines area and were sponsored by 130 individuals. They raised over $6,500 of the local goal of $120,000 (5%); the second most of the 56 local teams.
“The success of our efforts is an incredible witness to our faith, to our willingness to work together in a common cause and with local agencies, and to the fruit of the Greater St. Catharines Initiative,” concluded organizer the Reverend Canon Michael Mondloch.
The world-renowned Burlington Teen Tour Band led the 110 walkers from St. Christopher’s Church through the streets of Burlington to raise money for the parish’s Open Doors.
Open Doors operates a group of 12 community-based programs, supporting the church’s neighbours with community food, families and parenting, and community resources.
As a community hub, the programs are scheduled so people can access many resources in the same visit.
At Open Doors everyone is welcome to share in a meal, connect with community and find a place to belong.
The goal for Open Doors 2019 walk was $50,000, of which $41,000 had been secured on the actual Coldest Night of the Year and March 31st set as the deadline to reach their target.
Programs Manager Christina Mulder explained, “the money raised will help support the homeless, hungry and hurting”.