It was indeed cold during the Cowichan Mental Health Association’s annual Coldest Night of the Year community walk on Feb. 25.
The Duncan walk, along with others like it across the country, aimed to raise awareness of homelessness in the area and funds to create a safe space and programming for homeless youth.
This year featured 356 walkers on 60 teams, guided by 49 volunteers along two-kilometre and five-kilometre walks around Duncan. All told, the fundraiser collected $82,722 of it’s $100,000 goal.
The money is still coming in, though, according to Anne Marie Thornton, manager of community engagement and fund development at the Cowichan Valley branch of the CMHA.
“We do have a bunch of cheques and cash that hasn’t been counted yet so that will add to the total,” Thornton explained. “And if people still want to help out they can still go to the website, make a donation, and they’ll receive a tax receipt right away,” she added.
Donations for this fundraiser are being accepted until the end of the month.
The top single findraiser was Allison Brind of the RBC Royal Walkers, who raised $2,545, significantly exceeding her goal of $250.
The top team was Team New Life, led by Butch and Wilma Maxwell. Their group of 15 raised a whopping $7,048 for the cause.
Being the Coldest Night of the Year walk, Thornton said there’s no way it was going to be cancelled due to weather.
“Everybody was a little worried about weather, but there was no plan B,” she said. “We were going to walk and people showed up. Cowichan Valley came out in full force to support vulnerable youth. I thought things went great.”
In total, 5,923 teams comprised of 36,840 walkers, raised 104 per cent, or $12,533,949 of the of the CMHA’s $12,000,000 goal with many donations still to be tallied.