Coldest Night of the Year reminds people of struggles faced by others

February 28, 2019   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

Around 350 walkers turned out for the Coldest Night of the Year walk in support of the Orangeville Food Bank on Saturday, February 23.

The Walk started at Westside Secondary School in Orangeville with participants following a 10 km, 5 km, or 1 km, route.

It was the second time the walk has been held, with similar walks taking place around the country in support of local food banks.

Although the walk refers to the coldest night, it was actually a pretty balmy day for mid February which made for a pleasant experience as people headed out along the route.

The walk and its name was inspired by the journey many people take to a food bank when they have no transportation and are forced to walk in cold weather while carrying a heavy load of groceries.

“We’re really happy that today, at Westside, we are doing Coldest Night of the Year which is a national event going across Canada at five o’clock,” said Orangeville Food Bank executive director Heather Hayes. “There’s 20,000 walkers taking part across Canada today. The Walk is in support of individuals in our community that are homeless, cold, hungry – individuals who need a lot of support. That is what we are raising money for today. The money we raise in this community is staying at the Orangeville Food Bank. It’s also for individuals in our community who may not even use the Food Bank but don’t have access to adequate housing. They don’t have access to the kind of things we take for granted every day. This helps to remind us that there are individuals in the community that don’t have access to the things we do every day.”

To make the walk even more interesting, there were weighted bags that walkers could take that would give them an idea of what it’s like to leave the Food Bank and have to walk while carrying several pounds of groceries. 

“People can choose to take weights with them,” Ms. Hayes explained. We put them in five, ten, and fifteen pound bags. We’re hoping people will take this weight with them as they walk from here to the Food Bank and drop it off. It gives people an idea of what it is like to carry 25 pounds of groceries with them. It seems like a small amount until you have to carry it. If you have mobility issues or two tots with you at the same time – that’s not funny.”

Around 80 volunteers helped out at the walk. At the Food Bank there are around 90 people that volunteer to help out on a regular basis.

“The money raised in Orangeville stays in Orangeville. Last year this enabled us to increase our perishable food budget by $7,000 a year, which is huge for us. That meant we were able to get more fruits and vegetables. We have ten or twelve different kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables every day that we are open now. At our Food bank we guarantee milk and eggs, it’s not a lot that we have, but we guarantee it every month. We have a kids zone which is yogurts, cheese strings, oranges, apples, carrots, and cucumbers. We have meats in our freezers as well. Pretty much everything you can find in a grocery store you can find it at the Food Bank.”

While just about everyone arrived at the Walk in an automobile, making the walk gave participants 

to, just like the old saying, walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.

Readers Comments (0)

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.