Orangeville's Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser to go online

·2 min read

As it prepares for its annual fundraising campaign - one that by necessity will be done much differently this year - the Orangeville Food Bank got a substantial boost from a local grocer.

Metro Orangeville recently presented a $16,514 cheque to the food bank, which manager Savanaha O'Reilly said will go a long way.

"It's really important to receive cash donations like this because we're able to provide perishable items like fruits and veggies, milk and feminine hygiene," O'Reilly said.

The donation comes as the non-profit organization is set to host its annual campaign differently, on Feb. 20.

The Coldest Night of the Year is a Blue Sea Foundation charitable program, a registered Canadian Foundation.

Participants in Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) are asked to gather together safely, self-organize individually, or in smaller teams abiding by COVID-19 restrictions.

"We'll have a couple of days set up for walkers to come in and get their care package," said O'Reilly. "There will still be support from our local partners going into a goodie bag for our walkers, as well as our team captain."

While there are no registration fees to take part, the first 100 walkers who raise $500 will win a super-plush, one-of-a-kind limited edition CNOY-branded hooded sweatshirt.

Those who generate $150 or more (or $75 for youth 17 and under) will receive a Coldest Night of the Year toque.

"We're going to try to set up a few suggested routes," said O'Reilly. "Maybe some fun ones that give you a tour of the town a little more."

According to Food Banks Canada, over 840,000 Canadians seek help from a food bank every month, which is larger than New Brunswick's population.

Almost two in five are children and youth, one in six households seeking help are working and one in 10 walking through the doors each month are helped for the first time.

Since 2011, the Coldest Night of the Year has raised over $33,500,000 to support 144 communities and charity partners serving families, youth, and adults experiencing homelessness, hurt, and hunger across Canada.

Joshua Santos, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Orangeville Banner