Mustard Seed Edmonton gears up for Coldest Night of the Year event

“This is the sixth year we’ve participated in the Coldest Night of the Year and it’s one of our major fundraising events”

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Edmonton’s Mustard Seed is looking for walkers, or teams of walkers, to virtually join them and raise money for the Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser.

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This year’s event comes with a goal of $140,000, with that money going towards the operations of the Mustard Seed south Edmonton community hub, the Neighborhood Centre.

“This is the sixth year we’ve participated in the Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) and it’s one of our major fundraising events,” said Ana Kitlar, campaign development officer with the Mustard Seed.

In a typical year, the event would be held in person with 100-150 people walking together along a specified route, including rest stops along the way with hot chocolate and snacks to keep the walkers engaged.

This year, the organization made the choice to hold the event virtually. Participants can sign up as a single walker, or a group, for either a two-, five- or 10-kilometre walk and on Feb. 26, participants can walk anywhere they like.

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Currently, 32 teams and 130 walkers have signed up for the event but there are still plenty of days left to join up and there is no registration fee, Kitlar said.

“We would love for folks to sign up and start their own teams with their schools, coworkers or even their families,” said Kitlar.

In previous years, community engagement teams would take walkers who are interested in learning about the inner city and homelessness on what they call “social issues walks.” This year, the team has a suggested route for fundraisers who would like to take part.

“It’s really up to the walkers what they decide … if they love to be out in nature that’s totally fine, as long as you’re walking,” Kitlar said.

An event ‘the family can do’

The Coldest Night of the Year is a Canadawide fundraising event that started in 2011 to help raise money for local charities that help provide care and service for those experiencing homelessness and hunger.

“I love that this is an event that everybody in the family can do, and a lot of families can use this as a way to educate their children and introduce them into being involved in their communities — it gives people a bit of a glimpse into a small part of the struggle our community members have,” said Kitlar.

Anyone interested can sign up for the event at www.theseed.ca/cnoy and choose Edmonton from the list of cities.

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