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Coldest Night of the Year event in Port Alberni surpasses fundraising goal

Eighth annual event took place at Char’s Landing last weekend

The annual Coldest Night of the Year event in Port Alberni reached its fundraising goal a few days ahead of schedule.

Two days before the scheduled walk, Sage Haven Society had already raised its goal of $40,000, which will go towards housing programs and the Sage Haven Society drop-in centre on Third Avenue.

That didn’t stop dozens of walkers of all ages from gathering at Char’s Landing on Argyle Street on Saturday, Feb. 24 to take a walk around town in support of the hurt, hungry and homeless in the community.

“When we’re walking out there tonight, it’s an opportunity for all of us to really place ourselves in the shoes of other people and to think about what that’s like,” said Josie Osborne, MLA for Mid Island-Pacific Rim, ahead of the walk. “Not just to be unhoused, but to be one step away.”

The walk gathered leaders from the city, Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District, Hupacasath First Nation and Tseshaht First Nation, as well as Osborne and Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns. But there were also representatives from many other community organizations and businesses who helped to raise funds for the event.

The top fundraising team this year was the Sage Haven Striders, followed by Slide & The Family Stone (representing the Alberni Valley Curling Club) and RBC Port Alberni.

Port Alberni city councillor Debbie Haggard spoke on behalf of the city.

“There are many people who don’t have a nice house or a warm bed to go home to at night,” she said. “There are many who are struggling to house their family and keep food on the table. So while we are walking, let’s all take a moment to think about the great need and how the money raised here tonight is going to help them all.”

Walkers enjoyed plenty of snacks before the event, including doughnuts and hot chocolate donated by Tim Hortons and popcorn handed out by Osborne. After the walk, people came back to Char’s Landing to take in a homemade chili dinner and celebrate the success of the event.

“Let’s take what we do this night and do it the other 364 days of the year,” said Osborne.

Elena Rardon

About the Author: Elena Rardon

I have worked with the Alberni Valley News since 2016.
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