Cloverdale walk overshadowed by firing of director Matthew Campbell
The Cloverdale Community Kitchen raised more than $274K during its Coldest Night of the Year fundraising event Feb. 25—the most for any location in Canada.
Donations from Cloverdalians and people from surrounding communities in 2023 rose above last year’s high water mark of $230,000 by more than $44K. Canada-wide, all locations broke the overall goal of $12 million with all participants raising more than $12.4 million.
When the Cloverdale Reporter reached out to Matthew Campbell for a comment on the record-breaking fundraising night, the Reporter learned Campbell (the former director of CCK) was let go from the Community Kitchen just two days before CNOY.
Campbell could not be reached for comment by publication time and Lindsay Rempel, director of communications for the Community Kitchen, responded to say she was unable to comment until the following day.
“I am in shock that he was let go and I don’t know what happened,” said Scott Wheatley, executive director of the Cloverdale District Chamber of Commerce. Wheatley said he’s gotten to know Campbell well over the past few years and questioned why Campbell was fired. “They are being pretty closed-lipped about it. It was two days before their biggest event of the year.”
Wheatley said Campbell had become an important member of the wider Cloverdale community.
“Matthew did an amazing job building the Community Kitchen,” Wheatley added.
Brooke Kaulius, member of the “Board of Elders” with Pacific Community Church, reached out to the Reporter after the Reporter asked pastor Jon ImBeau to comment on Campbell’s termination.
Kaulius confirmed to the Reporter that Campbell was no longer with CCK.
“He will be sorely missed,” said Kaulius. “He’s been such an important part of CCK’s growth and we wish him all the best.”
Kaulius also confirmed Campbell was let go on Thursday (Feb. 23), but would not say why he was let go. “It has to remain confidential.”
When asked if Pacific Community Church was worried Campbell’s termination would overshadow Coldest Night—the Church’s biggest fundraiser of the year for the Community Kitchen— Kaulius said, “As I said, Matt will be missed, but it was a wonderful, joyful night.”
The Cloverdale Community Kitchen—run by, and out of, Pacific Community Church—generates a lot of money from donations by people in Cloverdale, including Clayton Heights and the surrounding communities. Along with Coldest Night, they solicit donations throughout the year for their work as a food bank and for their mobile meals programs. They also run a big Christmas hamper program that relies on monetary and toy donations to supply Christmas gifts and Christmas meals to the less fortunate. The Kitchen also relies heavily on volunteers to work in the kitchen and deliver meals.
Kaulius did not say who would take over as director of the Community Kitchen and did not offer any timeline on when a new director would be named.
As for Coldest Night, Edith Katronis, one of the lead sponsors for the event, said it was a resounding success.
“It was fantastic,” Katronis said. “It was such a big family event. There were so many kids there and teens. Judi Vankevich presented her manners program and she got all the kids dancing on the stage, and the crowd was dancing, the place was packed with parents and kids and grandparents. It just showed the face of the community.”
Katronis said the atmosphere was “refreshingly wonderful” and something she hasn’t seen at the Kitchen’s CNOY event since pre-COVID days.
“Everybody was just so glad to be out there,” she added. “The event is getting bigger and it’s drawing more people each year because it’s getting better known.”
Katronis said she thinks its the best event in Cloverdale. She also said it’s well-supported by local businesses. Katronis went around to solicit donations from the local businesses and found everyone eager to donate.
“They were so supportive and they gave large amounts,” she said. “But also the local teams and the individuals were important too. Even just little teams raising $25 per person. Every little bit counts.”
Katronis said the in-walk engagement was very energetic.
“People were in a wonderful mood. There was a lot of camaraderie among the walkers, a lot of laughter, everyone was in high spirits and having a great time.”
There were 707 walkers participating on 78 teams this year.
Programs at the Community Kitchen have grown steadily over the past few years. With the onset of COVID, the need has stretched even further. As such, the Kitchen is reaching more people with their unique programs, their food bank, and their mobile meals.
As of publication time, supporters in Cloverdale had raised $274,134, 109 per cent of their $250K fundraising goal. Linda Wing and her team “Hopeful Wanderers” raised the most money, coming in at $27,690. Jen Temple raised the most by an individual, raising $15,000.
Cloverdale’s Coldest Night raised the highest amount of money in Canada, with White Rock/South Surrey coming in second with $240K raised.
This is the Community Kitchen’s tenth year taking part in Coldest Night. The Kitchen has been serving the Cloverdale area for more than 10 years and the funds raised will benefit those in need in Cloverdale, Langley, White Rock, and Surrey.
“I’m very proud of Cloverdale and what they did on Saturday night,” added Katronis. “Cloverdale should be very proud of itself too.”
For more info on Coldest Night or the Kitchen, visit mycck.ca.
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