Organizers of The Coldest Night of the Year fundraising event for The Mustard Seed are hoping to raise $30,000 this year for a number of initiatives to help the City’s homeless and vulnerable populations.
The Coldest Night of the Year, described as a winter walk in support of ending homelessness – takes place Feb. 25th and starts out from The Mustard Seed facility which is located at 6002 – 54th Ave.
“We will be starting from The Mustard Seed and then walking across the bridge over into downtown and we will be passing by many of the other non-profits that we work with or that also work with people experiencing homelessness in Red Deer,” said Donna Vecino, events coordinator with The Mustard Seed.
“The rest stop is at Hope Mission, so it’s also a really great collaborative event and shows all of the agencies and the supports that are in Red Deer.”
So far, 12 teams are registered for The Coldest Night of the Year – those interested in taking part are encouraged to visit the web site at www.cnoy.org/reddeer to sign up or to find more more information about the event.
“The Coldest Night of the Year is actually a national event,” said Vecino, adding that participants are encouraged to raise their own pledges or utilize online fundraising pages as well. “It’s held in over 100 cities and supports over 130 charities all over the country.
The goal is for each person to raise $150.
“We’re hoping to have about 100 walkers this year,” she said, adding the event is called The Coldest Night of the Year because historically, the third Saturday in February is usually just that – the coldest night of the entire year.
“It’s also what many people experiencing homelessness experience on a day to day basis,” she said. “We will also be walking by the river, so some of the route we will be taking is also the route that many of those experiencing homelessness would also take to walking between different agencies – during the cold of the night as well.”
Vecino said organizers hope participants can gain a bit of an understanding of what homeless people typically experience.
“And can gain more of a realization of what people go through and experience in the cold and in the night.
“We can also walk with friends and family members, but many people experiencing homelessness don’t have that luxury,” she said. “We just hope this helps to open their eyes and broadens their horizons to help them see the needs in our own community and learn of some practical ways they can help as well,” she added.
Those interested in taking part can register as individuals or create a team of friends, family, coworkers or members from their church groups.
“What I really love is that it’s just people from all walks of life taking part,” she said. “The reach is just monumental and more than we could ever have expected most years. It’s really exciting to see the awareness build in that way.
“That’s really what you want is to be able to tell the story and for people to change their perceptions or assumptions of people experiencing homelessness,” she added. “So we really hope to do a bit of that as well.”
For more information, visit www.cnoy.org/reddeer or www.TheSeed.ca/RedDeer. You can also find them on facebook at ‘The Mustard Seed’.