On Feb. 20th, Loaves and Fishes will join hundreds of organizations across the country in the Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) fundraising event.
This will be the second year Loaves and Fishes invites members of the community to walk or jog a 2km, 5km or 10km run in the name of raising awareness of homelessness and poverty in the area. Fundraising coordinator Claudine Fleury has been working hard to connect the public and invite participants to the event.
“I wasn’t here last year, but I’ve spoken with the staff and with our executive director and was told they had a fantastic time,” Fleury said. “They raised funds but also really brought the community together on the topics of homelessness and poverty in Central Alberta. They raised awareness and brought attention to the issue.”
She said it would be great to see agencies, businesses and organizations in the community participate in the event, given that so much of the work Loaves and Fishes does works is with other local agencies.
“Our staff do a really great job here of connecting people to resources and connecting to other agencies. There is a co-operation amongst agencies in Red Deer, so that we can accept and refer clients between other agencies. It would be great to see those organizations in the City participate in the CNOY event.”
The Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser takes place nationally to raise awareness of homelessness and poverty. Last year, it contributed big dollars to Loaves and Fishes in order to help maintain the services provided to combat those issues.
Fleury said this year is just as important, if not more so, due to the current economic status of the region. With the recession and high unemployment rate, she said the services of Loaves and Fishes are under a great deal of stress.
“The recession and high unemployment rate is putting a great deal of strain on our services financially,” she said.
“We are fundraising more than ever and are writing sponsorship, grant and proposal requests. We’ve requested businesses and other agencies to participate in our fundraisers throughout the year. We have been mostly a donations supported organization – very little money comes from government for our support and services.”
She added, “Donations and fundraising are crucial to our stability and our ability to be able to provide our services.”
At the time of the interview, CNOY had 15 teams registered and were seeking 10 more to meet their goal of 25 teams. Fleury said each team would ideally have 10 people on it. She added the financial goal of the fundraising event is between $25,000 and $30,000.
“That goal is really what we would need to meet our budget and expense demands for the quarter. All of the profits from CNOY will definitely be directed towards maintaining our services through that time,” she said.
She added there are many roles people can take in participation, from volunteering to photography to food preparation and a welcoming committee. As well, she said they are seeking and encouraging corporate teams and sponsorships that would be greatly appreciated.
“A lot of people care about the issues of homelessness and poverty here in Central Alberta and they want to give back and contribute – this is a really fantastic way to give to that cause.”