Of all the changes that had to be made for SOURCES’ Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) event this year, one thing that didn’t change was the outpouring of community spirit.
The annual event typically takes up the White Rock waterfront for one chilly Saturday evening in February, as a sea of 500 people donning identical toques walk up and down the promenade to raise awareness and funds for SOURCES’ homelessness prevention services and rent bank. However, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, participants this year were encouraged to walk on their own or with their safe bubble, anytime during “WALK Weekend” (February 19-21, 2021) and anywhere as long as it was close to home.
In an effort to build “togetherness” for an event that had to happen “apart” for the first time ever, SOURCES created a Facebook Group – an online community for participants to share their ideas and experiences. In the weeks leading up to WALK weekend, group members shared adorable, funny, and inspirational images and video clips of themselves, their pets and their families. Most were local to the Surrey-White Rock area but there were several who were walking for SOURCES from as far away as Portugal, Toronto and Calgary! SOURCES teams in Parksville and Prince George also signed up and shared pictures from the Island and the North.
As of March 1, more than $229,000 has been raised for SOURCES to help people in our community who are experiencing homelessness, hurt and hunger. This number is staggering, considering the 2020 event was a record year raising $115,000.
“When we decided to take our Coldest Night of the Year event virtual we set our eyes on meeting the same target as last year which was $100,000. With all the struggle and uncertainty of this past year, we didn’t expect to exceed it, or to be the first of 149 locations nationwide to get there. We also did not expect to double it and beyond,” said event planner Abby Gemino.
SOURCES’ Virtual CNOY 2021 also saw double the number of monetary sponsors compared to the previous year, and the number of donors pledging support to walkers increased by 50 per cent, to 1,818 (and counting) from 1,220 donors.
“Since we first began hosting the Coldest Night of the Year in 2014, our White Rock walk has grown from 150 people raising $45,000 to upwards of 500 people raising four times that amount. We are genuinely overwhelmed by the generous support from community for our charity and our cause,” said SOURCES CEO David Young. “These critical funds will allow us to strengthen our ability to serve more people in crisis during these challenging times.”
Fifty-six teams signed up this year, rallying hundreds of walkers who completed their kms at Surrey’s Bear Creek Park, Delta’s Centennial Beach, Coquitlam’s Colony Farms, Parksville’s Little Qualicum Falls, and other scenic routes including, of course, White Rock’s waterfront.
SOURCES’ top fundraising team – The Virtually Virtuous (pictured above) – walked at Campbell Valley Regional Park in Langley. On their team was also the top fundraiser for the entire country! Deanna Kratzenberg raised $48,887, the most out of over 24,000 walkers across Canada.
“This walk and this cause is deeply personal for my son Mitchell and I,” said Deanna. “Several years ago we lost a family member in tragic circumstances. During his troubled life, Norman received support from community agencies, agency staff and volunteers and we know this support sustained him through the most difficult of times. Mitchell and I walk in Norman’s memory but also with confidence that all of our efforts will provide hope and healing for others.”
The Coldest Night of the Year
supports charities that serve those suffering from homelessness, hurt and hunger. Those challenges have been exacerbated by COVID-19 and have thrust more people into unforeseen circumstances including illness, job loss, mental distress and more. The pandemic is not yet over, nor is the need in our community for support. That is why the funds the community has raised will be funnelled through our Comfort and Care During COVID-19 response fund and applied to SOURCES’ programs and services that are in most critical need: our Food Banks, Housing and Advocacy Services (including Homelessness Prevention Services and Rent Bank), Volunteer Services and Counselling Services.
On behalf of everyone at SOURCES…
…to our event sponsors, to the team captains and walkers, to every donor, volunteer, staff member and our friends at Blue Sea Philanthropy for making our 8th annual – and 1st virtual – Coldest Night of the Year event a tremendous, unprecedented success!
Final Four Things To Do:
Send your WALK photos and/or video clips to firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be included in our montage video!
Collect final pledges online until March 31, 2021
Watch our fun, live-streamed Opening Ceremony and Closing Ceremony
Save the date for CNOY 2022: February 26!