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Lace up your boots to raise money for homeless youth

Coldest Night of the Year walk in Collingwood is slated to take place Feb. 23
An enthusiastic walker hops along the sidewalk following the crowd of participants at last year's Coldest Night of the Year walk in Collingwood. Erika Engel photo

Bundle up and open your wallets.

The Coldest Night of the Year walk in Collingwood is slated to take place Feb. 23, where walkers will be raising money for charities serving the hungry, homeless and hurting in 136 communities across Canada. In Collingwood, the recipient is Home Horizon’s Barbara Weider House.

“It’s a very serious and critical cause in our community. The event itself is very family-friendly, it really is as much an awareness event as it is to raise the [money],” said Deb Piggott, fund development manager with Home Horizon’s Transitional Support Program.

Collingwood’s goal for this year’s walk is to raise $60,000. As of Feb. 11, $26,000 had been pledged.

“Last year, we raised just under $50,000. With the additional demands and needs in our community, our overall fundraising goals have increased substantially,” said Piggott.

“It’s really interesting,” said Piggott with a laugh. “People are very last minute. This is totally on-target.”

Piggott said that while the situation facing each individual homeless person is different, there are some common threads that contribute to the issue in the area.

“I think the reason is really the lack of affordable housing,” said Piggott. “As there’s no [emergency] shelter in the community, the Barbara Weider House has become the point of contact. It serves some people on a full-time basis in terms of beds, but our outreach program is far greater than that.

“On a very regular basis, we’re dealing with 50 or more kids at a time,” she said.

In July 2017, Home Horizons moved into the Barbara Weider house -- a seven-bed facility for homeless youth. The facility provides youth facing homelessness with safe housing, coupled with access to counselling and social and life skills programs to help them successfully rebuild their lives and transition to independent living and adulthood.

The program is currently full with a waitlist.

The Coldest Night of the Year walk will be starting at Trinity United Church on Maple Street. Registration starts at 4 p.m., with opening ceremonies slated to take place at 5 p.m.

There will be two and five-kilometre route options, with rest stops available along the way.

Walkers from 11 to 17 must raise a minimum of $75, walkers 18 plus must raise a minimum of $150 and children under 10 are free to walk. For those who instead choose to pay the non-refundable registration fee, the early-bird cost of $25 applies until Feb. 17. After that, the fee will increase to $40.

For more information or to sign up to walk, click here.


Jessica Owen

About the Author: Jessica Owen

Jessica Owen brings nine years of experience to her role as regional reporter for Village Media, primarily covering county matters, court, Collingwood and Barrie matters
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