West Mountain centre hoping to raise $75,000
Doug Farraway says it could be the largest single fundraiser in the history of Neighbour to Neighbour Centre
The director of development at the Athens Street centre, which provides a number of community services including a busy food bank and a reading tutoring program for elementary school children, is hoping to attract enough walkers for their first Coldest Night of the Year event on Feb. 22 to raise $75,000.
“That’s what we’re shooting for,” said Farraway, who is expecting at least 40 teams of walkers (including walkers from Hamilton Community News) to raise funds and take part in a two, five or 10 kilometre walk through the Rolston neighbourhood on the west Mountain.
Farraway noted Rolston includes a substantial number of low income residents.
“It’s an educational walk that highlights issues of homelessness and poverty,” Farraway said.
The walks begin and end at the Immanuel Christian Reformed Church on Mohawk Road West next to Neighbour to Neighbour Centre.
Registration is at 4 p.m. and the walks begin around 5 p.m. after a brief opening ceremony.
Walkers will be treated to hot chocolate, coffee, chili and other treats at the end of their hike.
Participants in the five and 10k walks will get a rest stop at the Church of the Resurrection at Mohawk and Garth.
Coldest Night of the Year is a nation-wide event that began in 2011 as a winter walk to help the homeless inToronto and Kitchener-Waterloo.
It’s organized by Blue Sea Philanthropy, a registered charity that helps social agencies across Canada raise funds to help people battling poverty, addiction, mental health issues and homelessness.
This year walkers will fan out in 63 communities across the country.
“The model of how the event works really attracted us,” said Farraway, who noted the Coldest Night organization looks after on-line registration, materials (including toques) and promotion for the walk, something organizations such as Neighbour to Neighbour Centre don’t have the resources to do on their own.
He said as much as 75 percent of the funds raised by the Mountain walk will go to the centre while the rest goes back to Coldest Night to cover their administration and organizational expenses.
To sign up on-line go to: brrrrr.org/location/hamiltonmountain or call 905-574-1334 ext. 202 for more information.
Farraway said participants can also sign up at the church on the night of the walk and non-walkers can make donations.
St. Matthews’s House is also hosting a Coldest Night of the Year walk in the lower city.