By Mo Cranker on February 6, 2017.
For many homeless people across the country, most winter nights would feel like the coldest of the year.
For the third consecutive year the Hope Street Compassionate Ministry Centre will be holding its Coldest Night of the Year event on Feb. 25, fundraising for their own homeless support services. Executive director for Hope Street and organizer of the event Murray Kumm says this is the biggest event of the year for the group.
“We’re really excited to be putting this event on once again,” he said. “For us and a lot of other places around the country this is our largest event â€” 114 places will take part in Canada, we’re hoping it’s a good year.”
Hope Street offers a free warm meal program every Sunday, averaging around 85 people at each lunch. Kumm says his goal for the event is $25,000, which would fill half of the organization’s budget for the year.
“The Coldest Night event is very big financially for Hope Street,” he said. “Right now we have 12 teams and we’re hoping to get a few more to meet our fundraising goal.”
The night will begin at 5 p.m. with opening ceremonies, then two, five and 10 kilometre walks starting shortly after. Kumm says the walking routes have been designed to be as age friendly as possible.
“We’ve tried to avoid as many hills or difficult areas,” he said. “The courses are mostly around the downtown area, with a pit stop YMCA where we’ll have some refreshments and people can take a breather there.”
Kumm says he has seen an increased need for the ministry’s services in the past year, which he largely attributes to the economy.
“Usually our numbers go up in the summer, but they haven’t dropped which is a concern,” he said. “With the poor state of the economy, we’re seeing a lot of new faces at our Sunday lunches â€” we had around 140 at our Christmas dinner.”
Kumm says his goal is to offer more free meals throughout the week as the ministry grows.
More information on the walk can be found on the group’s website, http://www.hopestreetcmc.ca.
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