Organizers are pleased with the results of the third annual Coldest Night of the Year event in Port Alberni.
The walk-a-thon on Saturday, Feb. 23 raised funds for Alberni Community and Women’s Services Society, which runs the Port Alberni Transition House, along with a number of other programs in community.
“We had a good turnout—there were lots of happy walkers,” said ACAWS executive director Ellen Frood after the event.
Frood said she was “thrilled” with the added entertainment and the atmosphere it provided at the Alberni Athletic Hall on Saturday. This year’s event included performances from Alberni Teens Can Rock and Elite Dance Academy, as well as a silent auction. And, of course, the Red Hot Chili Preppers were ready with warm bowls of chili for the end of the walk on Saturday evening.
Coldest Night of the Year also featured a few special guests, like Mid Island-Pacific Rim MLA Scott Fraser and Port Alberni Mayor Sharie Minions, as well as other members of city council.
On Saturday, Minions acknowleged the importance of the event and what it represents.
“I think for most of the people in this room, having a roof over our heads, having a warm place to sleep at night and knowing where our next meal comes from are things that are really easy to take for granted,” she said. “But a lot of people in our community don’t live with those same comforts. And we’re really fortunate to have organizations like ACAWS who are there for those people when they need that extra bit of support.”
Numbers are still being counted, but so far this year’s event has raised more than $22,000 for ACAWS.
“It’s a little bit less than last year, but we’re still thrilled with the support we received from the community,” said Frood.
Next year’s Coldest Night of the Year event is scheduled for Feb. 22, 2020 and preparations are already underway.