Toque-wearing Stephanie Shardlow (bottom row, second from right), of Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society, and volunteers involved in the 2020 Coldest Night of the Year event in Whalley. (submitted photo)

‘Coldest Night’ walk in Whalley aims to raise $25K on Saturday

Live music, food and commemorative toques attract teams to national event held annually

A winter walk in Whalley this Saturday (Feb. 22) will help hungry, homeless and hurting people in Surrey.

The annual Coldest Night of the Year event is held in more than 125 cities across Canada, including walks in Whalley, Cloverdale, White Rock and Delta.

The dinner-hour event in Whalley starts with a 4 p.m. registration time at Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre (13458 107A Ave.), followed by two- and five-kilometre walk routes from there. Live blues and choral music will be performed, and warm food and beverages will be served afterward. The event wraps by 8 p.m.

The goal is to raise $25,000 at the Surrey-Whalley gathering, which will involve 19 teams of people walking in support of Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society and Surrey Homelessness and Housing Task Force.

“We’re at 59 per cent of our goal, and we’re looking better this year than last year, which is great,” said Stephanie Shardlow, fund development co-ordinator for Surrey Homelessness & Housing Society.

“Last year it was really cold but it didn’t snow, and this year it could rain,” she added, “and that’s OK because the event is really designed to give people a taste of what those who are homeless go through sleeping on the street every night, to spend some time outside in cold, wet weather.”

• RELATED STORY: Cloverdale’s annual walk for charity still looking for sponsors and participants.

Commemorative toques are given to adult walkers who raise a minimum of $150, or $75 for youth 17 and under.

“Everyone who wants to walk pays $25, or people can donate to a team,” Shardlow noted.

Registration details are posted to cnoy.org/location/surreywhalley.

On Wednesday, a “scoreboard” on the website showed the Kelly Ma-captained FS Superstars team in the lead with $2,020 raised so far, followed by Antonella Mitchell’s 13-member Vancity CLA team and Letizia Romei’s Team Surrey Whalley. Solo walkers in the fundraising lead are Eden Bishop, Ravneet Thandi and Kim Mackie.

Surrey Homelessness & Housing Society was launched in 2007, when the City of Surrey allocated $9 million from the city’s Affordable Housing Reserve Fund to seed the organization.

“This was a response to the emerging trend of homelessness and lack of affordable housing in the City of Surrey,” according to a post at surreyhomeless.ca. “The Surrey Homelessness and Housing Fund is an endowment – meaning the principal amount remains relatively intact. This allows the fund to have greater long-term impact; as the fund grows, the Society will be able to provide more funding to housing and homelessness solutions. The Surrey Homelessness and Housing Fund is managed by Vancity Community Foundation, on behalf of the Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society.”



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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