Patti MacAhonic, executive director with Ann Davis Transition Society, and fellow staff member, Mary Jones, are getting ready for the Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser on Feb. 20, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Patti MacAhonic, executive director with Ann Davis Transition Society, and fellow staff member, Mary Jones, are getting ready for the Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser on Feb. 20, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

‘Coldest Night’ walk to raise money for homeless, vulnerable women and children in Fraser Valley

This year’s Coldest Night of the Year walk benefitting Chilliwack’s Ann Davis Transition Society

Folks will be bundling up and taking to the streets to raise money for Chilliwack’s homeless and vulnerable people next month.

The annual Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser takes place across Canada on Saturday, Feb. 20 and here in Chilliwack, money raised from the event will be going to Ann Davis Transition Society (ADTS).

The Coldest Night of the Year is a walk to raise money for charities that help people experiencing homelessness, hurt, and hunger.

ADTS was “excited” to be chosen since they haven’t been able to host regular fundraisers like their drive-thru breakfast and fashion show due to COVID-19, said executive director Patti MacAhonic.

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“This year especially, I think people are feeling the winter blues. They’re shut in with COVID, there’s not a lot of fun. They’re missing the fun,” she said. “This is a way for people to get outside and have some fun, and it’s all for a really good cause.”

The event will likely be a virtual one and people will be walking their own routes due to the pandemic, but there is a chance plans may change if public health restrictions are lifted after Feb. 5.

In past years, the Chilliwack Salvation Army and Cyrus Centre have benefitted from Coldest Night of the Year. This is the first year ADTS will be the recipients of funds raised.

Last year, ADTS provided bed stays for 6,639 women and 1,435 children but had to turn away 200 women and 98 children who were in need, as they had no room and the women and children had no place to go.

“This is something the whole community can get behind because we really have a serious homelessness problem,” MacAhonic said.

There has also been an increase in domestic violence and children calling Canada’s Kids Help Phone, she added.

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“All these reasons is why we need to be raising money.”

Coldest Night of the Year started in 2011 in two locations. By 2020, it had expanded to 144 locations throughout the nation and $6.25 million was raised last year.

Statistically, the third Saturday in February is the coldest night of the year across Canada, which is why the event is held on that day each year.

So on Feb. 20, people in Chilliwack will be donning blue-and-yellow toques and blue masks as they take to the streets of Chilliwack to raise money for ADTS.

“It’s necessary to get those messages of hope out and that we’re going to get through this together,” MacAhonic said.

Those wanting to take part can register (as an individual walker or as a team) at cnoy.org/location/chilliwack. There will be a virtual opening ceremony and MacAhonic is inviting participants to take selfies and video clips and share them via social media.

They are also looking for sponsors. To help with sponsorship, email kgardiner@anndavis.org.

About Ann Davis Transition Society:

For 40 years, Ann Davis Transition Society has been committed to helping the most vulnerable women and children in our community find safe and secure shelter. Through education, prevention and support, our services support all ages and genders who have been affected by abuse and violence. We provide access to Transition Homes for women and children fleeing abusive and violent situations; counselling; legal advocacy, supervised visits, outreach and various programs that all make a difference in our very own community. Our goal is to deliver continued support as the need for help has increased this year.


 

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