'We crushed the goal': Orangeville food bank gets big boost from Coldest Night of the Year

·2 min read

Fundraising efforts for this year’s Coldest Night of the Year have surpassed expectations.

The Orangeville Food Bank had set a goal to raise $65,000 through the virtual-only fundraiser Feb. 20. Instead, it brought in $77,544.

“We crushed the goal,” said Savanaha O'Reilly, food manager for the Orangeville Food Bank. “We thought, since the pandemic, we wouldn’t get a good of a turnout as we have in the past with it being virtual, but the community as always has surprised us."

About 249 walkers signed up, with 47 teams registered. The top three teams were the Care Bears, raising $7,450, Marching Marks with $5,690, and the Young and the Rest of Us contributing $4,627. The Care Bears represented Orangeville District Secondary School.

“We had a lot of support from the schools, not just the food drive, but with Coldest Night of the Year now,” said O’Reilly. “They blew our minds, and we didn’t expect that at all.”

Those registered could join in on a two-kilometre walk or a distanced five-kilometre walk covering most of the town.

Adult walkers who raised $150 and children contributing $75 received a commemorative tuque as a sign of appreciation from the organization.

Participants were encouraged to raise money for charities serving people experiencing homelessness, hurt and hunger. The Orangeville food bank serves 700 people a month, 35 per cent of them children.

“We have continued to see an increase in clients,” said “O’Reilly. “We are seeing people we haven’t seen before.”

They state seniors continue to be the fastest-growing demographic each year.

The organization receives no annual provincial or federal funding and is primarily supported by the community.

Funds raised will support the food bank operations, including fresh food purchases, gardening programs, seniors' markets, food packages for children, and the community food share initiative.

Joshua Santos, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Orangeville Banner