Vernon’s homeless often spend hours walking the street because they have no where else to go.
It’s those conditions that the second annual Coldest Night of the Year fundraising walk hope to replicate Feb. 22.
“Participants can feel what the homeless go through every day,” said Lisa Anderson, Upper Room Mission fundraising director.
Awareness about homelessness is a critical part of the campaign, which hopes to raise $40,000 for a new heating system at the mission.
“Our furnace is ancient,” said Jake Spoor, URM general manager.
Without a proper furnace, the mission is unable to serve 200 meals a day to residents in need or provide a warm setting for individuals wanting to escape the cold weather.
Last year’s Coldest Night of the Year had 300 participants.
“It was really neat to see the sea of toques marching up the street,” said Linda Price, URM kitchen supervisor.
Eight teams are signed up so far for the Feb. 22 event and more are expected.
“We are encouraging people to create teams and collect pledges,” said Anderson.
Back this year are Myrika Godard and her husband Eric Godard, a Stanley Cup champion.
“Everyone on our team last year wants to do it again,” said Myrika, adding that the long line of walkers caught the attention of motorists.
“People were pulling over and asking why they were walking and the message was getting out there.”
Teams and individuals can register for the walk at coldestnightoftheyear.org. Each adult member of a team is encouraged to raise $150 or there is a $25 registration fee.
Registration will start at 4 p.m. at the Upper Room Mission and the walk begins at 5 p.m.
The half-way mark for the five-kilometre walk will be the Arbour at 43rd Avenue and 27th Street.
Both the five and 10-kilometre walks will end at the mission, where there will be various activities and chili provided by the Vernon Lions.
Part of the organizing team is Jim Tennant, general manager of Save-On Foods.
“He has helped us so much,” said Anderson.
For more information, contact Lisa Anderson at 250-549-1231.