Feb. 23 is Coldest Night of the Year in Kamloops
New Life Mission is calling on Kamloopsians to bundle up and brave the cold as the Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser for the hungry and homeless returns to the city next month.
While participants in last year’s event experienced relatively mild winter weather, mission executive director Stan Dueck said it’s anyone’s guess what the thermometers will show on Feb. 23, this year’s walk day.
However, he added, registered walkers will have a yellow tuque and the promise of a hot meal at the end to keep them going as they walk either five or 10 kilometres in support of the mission.
The event’s atmosphere may also help keep the chills at bay.
“It was amazing,” Dueck said of last year’s event, which drew more than 200 walkers and raised $25,000 for the mission.
“It was just really a fun thing, a very upbeat environment and a great meal when we got back to the outreach, actually.”
Dueck said Coldest Night of the Year was the mission’s single-largest fundraiser in 2012, with the aim to make it even bigger in 2013.
This year, he’s hoping to see 300 walkers come out, with a fundraising goal of $40,000.
To heat up the event, the mission has issued a challenge to several other communities also participating in Coldest Night.
“Kelowna, Vernon and Salmon Arm are all walking in it this year as well and we have a challenge going out to Kelowna to see who can create the most teams and walkers and raise the most funds,” he said.
Last year, Kelowna’s event raised $15,000 and brought out more than 100 walkers.
Though it’s still almost a month away, Dueck said organizations around the city have started putting teams together, with 12 groups already registered.
The mission is also trying to get more young people involved in this year’s walk and is doing presentations in schools around Kamloops to spark interest.
“We’d love to see as many students, TRU students, young people walking in it as possible,” he said.
“I think we’re going to see a lot of walkers coming from every different part of Kamloops.”
To pre-register for the Coldest Night of the Year, go online to coldestnightoftheyear.org.
Kamloops’ event begins at the New Life Mission, 181 West Victoria St. on Saturday, Feb. 23.
Registration opens at 4 p.m., with the walk set to begin at 5:15 p.m.