How a long walk on a cold night can help out

Teams, volunteers wanted for ‘Coldest Night of the Year,’ a fundraiser for the homeless

East Kootenay Community Credit Union manager Mindy Atti

East Kootenay Community Credit Union manager Mindy Atti

Barry Coulter

A family-friendly winter fundraising walk for Cranbrook’s homeless, hungry and hurting is taking place on the evening of February 25, 2017.

Community Connections Society SE BC is encouraging Cranbrook residents to bundle up and raise cold, hard cash for The Coldest Night of the Year (WALK).

“It’s really an opportunity for people to say ‘we see you, and we care,’” said Erin Pan.

This is Cranbrook’s first year taking part in the Coldest Night of the Year, with a fundraising goal of $50,000 More than 200 walkers and 30 teams are expected to brave the cold winter’s night.

Erin Pan and Tracy Pound are event directors, and co-ordinators for Homeless Outreach and Homeless Prevention with Community Connections. They spoke with the Townsman at a pre-event launch at the Heid-Out in Cranbrook, Saturday, Jan. 7, and said the event is looking for event more teams, and volunteers to help out.

“People can get out there and get involved, start a team or donate or volunteer,” Pound said. “We’re also looking for volunteers to help with the event.

“There are a number of different volunteer positions available on the day of the event.  It’s really only a few hours of a person’s time. But we want encourage people to get out there, start some teams, and raise money for this important cause.”

Registration starts at 4 p.m., with the walk itself commencing about 5 p.m. Participants will walk a 2km, 5km or 10km route, starting at Mt. Baker Secondary and will warm up with toasty drinks at rest stops — Tim Hortons and Hot Shots—  along the way. The walk will end at the Community Connections Society where  meal sponsor Heid Out Restaurant and Brew House will be serving up warm bowls of soup.

The route will be closed at 8 p.m. And stragglers are expected to back by 9 p.m.

“Even though we’re dealing with a serious issue, about people who are homeless and hungry in our community, the walk is also about coming out in the community and participating and having fun,” Pound said. “So they’ll be able to stop in for a snack and warm drink at Hot Shots on the way out and Tim Horton’s on the way back, and there will be a meal provided by the Heid-Out afterwards, with the hot soup.”

Sponsorship of the WALK has been key. Cranbrook Dodge and Western Financial are among the main sponsors, the Heid-Out is serving as Food Sponsor, and Hot Shots and Tim Horton’s will be among the warm-up spots.

And the lead sponsor is East Kootenay Community Credit Union. In a statement for Saturday’s event, EKCCU Branch Manager Mindy Atti thanked everyone who’s taking part in Coldest Night of The Year.

“Through our membership we learn what is important and support where we can,” Atti wrote in her statement. “Projects are often done quietly as this may be needed to best support the most vulnerable.”

EKCCU will be holding an event launch of their own on Friday, January 27. Participants and teams can register for the WALK at that time as well.

Team captains can register and recruit team members by going here.