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Help the hurt, hungry and homeless on the Coldest Night of the Year

Annual fundraiser seeks teams in Port Alberni for Feb. 25 event
More than 120 walkers showed up for the Coldest Night of the Year in 2020 in Port Alberni, the last time the event was held in person. (MIKE YOUDS/ Special to the News)

The Coldest Night of the Year is approaching, and organizers of the annual fundraiser are hoping to “gather for goodness” in February.

Coldest Night of the Year is a family-friendly walk to raise funds for charities that serve people experiencing hurt, hunger and homelessness. In Port Alberni, the funds raised will go towards Sage Haven Society (formerly known as ACAWS), which operates a drop-in centre on Third Avenue and a Transition House for women and children fleeing violence.

“Both of these areas are helping people who are homeless,” explained Ellen Frood, executive director for Sage Haven Society.

The fundraising event returns to Port Alberni on Saturday, Feb. 25, and the theme for this year’s event is “Gather for Goodness,” which is appropriate after more than two years of COVID-19 restrictions.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Coldest Night of the Year switched to a “hybrid” format which allowed participants to walk at any point during the month of February, instead of gathering for one large event. Frood says this is still an option for the 2023 walk, but Sage Haven Society will also be hosting an official gathering on Feb. 25 that will take walkers around the Uptown area.

Walkers will arrive at the parking lot behind Sage Haven Society (3082 Third Avenue) to depart at 5 p.m. There will be a 2-kilometre and a 5-kilometre route. Afterwards, refreshments will be served and a silent auction will take place inside the Sage Haven office.

“The idea is we can come back and celebrate all the fun we had,” said Frood.

Sage Haven’s goal this year is to raise $35,000. So far, the event has raised $22,000, with 10 teams signed up to take part. The Coulson Group has once again signed on as the event’s lead sponsor, with a few other sponsors contributing as well.

“We’re doing really well, but we need more teams and more people to sign up,” said Frood. “It’s all about trying to raise awareness for Sage Haven and the work that we do.”

To sign up for Coldest Night of the Year, visit You can either join a team, make a team of your own or donate to support another walker.

Even those who are unable to participate in the walk can still join teams and collect pledges, said Frood.

“You can always contribute,” she said.

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Elena Rardon

About the Author: Elena Rardon

I have worked with the Alberni Valley News since 2016.
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