Food Bank to host first Coldest Night of the Year event

February 27, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Jasen Obermeyer

The Orangeville Food Bank will be hosting its first Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) walks this Saturday, Feb. 24, to raise money for the building’s rent.

CNOY is a “super-fun, family-friendly fundraiser that raises money and awareness for local charities serving hungry, homeless and hurting families and youth” in over 125 communities in Canada.

Since 2011, CNOY has raised over $16,500,000. According to their website, the idea of “walking in someone’s shoes,” is to “feel a hint of the challenge faced by those experiencing homelessness during winter.”

There are two-, five- and 10-kilometre walks, with different routes around Orangeville based on the choice of walk. The fundraising event goes from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Princess Elizabeth Public School, and afterward the walkers will meet back at the school, where light refreshments, chili and treats will be provided.

The registration fee is $40, but for children 10 and under it’s free. Youth from 11 to 17 need to raise a minimum of $75, adults 18 and over need to raise a minimum of $150.

Heather Hayes, executive director of the food bank, spoke to the Citizen this past Tuesday.  She discussed how their annual rent is $50,000 with no provincial or federal funding, and their goal is to raise $35,000. “We need to be able to make sure that we have a building to be able to provide fresh and perishable foods for people.”

Ms. Hayes said they hope to make this walk an annual event “that will take this burden off, so that we can divert our attention from maintaining the utilities in the roof to ‘How can I get more fresh and perishable foods out to people? How can I increase what we distribute now?’”

The food bank currently supports 500 people a month, 38 per cent of them being children, while seniors are the fastest-growing demographic.

She said she is hoping this walk can help everyone delve further into the issues of poverty and homelessness, as anyone can deal with the same life circumstances. “Sometimes we may be able to convince ourselves that these things would never happen to us, and that’s not true.”

By being outside, Ms. Hayes said participants would get a feel for those who walk with their food, as they give 25 pounds of food per person. “You’re not wasting two dollars on a bus pass, you’re just not doing that.”

To register for the event or join a team, visit

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