Coldest Night of the Year adapts to COVID, with greater need than ever

·2 min read

With temperatures hitting -30C or worse this month, an annual walking event is hoping to raise money for those in need.

The Coldest Night of the Year event will take place for the seventh consecutive year this month, it will just look a little different than normal.

Usually every walking individual or team will meet up on Feb. 20 to complete one of three courses. Each person raises money for the Mustard Seed’s local services before the event.

Due to COVID-19, a large gathering is not possible. People are asked to still get active and raise funds, but to take part in their own walk on Feb. 20.

“We did five years with Hope Street and this is our second with Mustard Seed,” said Mustard Seed spiritual care Chaplin Murray Kumm. “The actual date is Feb. 20 and there are 150 locations around Canada doing one of these walks. I’d say three quarters are doing these virtually.

“We’re asking people to sign up as usual, to fundraise as usual, but to do the walk alone or with their team. If the 20th doesn’t work, people are welcome to do the walk on another date.”

Kumm says the goal of the event is $22,000, which will go to the Mustard Seed.

“All of the money raised locally stays local,” he said. “The money will go to our feeding program at the Mustard Seed, which we run seven days every week.”

Kumm says around 95-100 people are accessing services per day.

“It’s busy right now,” he said. “The need is greater now than ever.”

Due to the extreme cold weather, Kumm says accessing services can be impossible.

“Imagine having to walk across the city to get a meal,” he said. “In weather like this, it isn’t possible for a lot of our regulars. This cold makes it so fewer people can get here, and more people go hungry in our community.

“So for the Coldest Night event, it’s to show people that the cold weather makes life that much harder for people who are struggling.”

More information can be found online at http://www.cnoy.org

Mo Cranker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News