Have you ever stepped out into what seems like the most bone-chilling temperature you’ve ever experienced and wondered what it must be like to have nowhere warm to sleep? Or walked by someone huddling in a nook or cranny for shelter from the bitter wind and puzzle how they’re surviving?
The Coldest Night of the Year is a moment when tens of thousands of Canadians step outside the warmth and comfort of their own homes to shine a light of welcome and inclusion, collecting donations that fund critical services with local charity partners who serve and support vulnerable families and individuals.
We spoke with Bill Crawford, event coordinator for the Mississauga Erin Mills Coldest Night of the Year, which will benefit Eden Food for Change. The other local walk happens in Meadowvale and will benefit The Dam.
LLM: When did your team begin participating in this event?
BC: Last year was Eden Food for Change’s first year participating in the Coldest Night of the Year. I was not involved last year, but I heard that it was a great first year for the event. We had about 30 teams or just about 150 walkers and raised about $35,000 for the food bank.
LLM: Why do you feel it’s important to join?
BC: It’s important because we are better when we do good for other people. Most people focus on the positive difference their participation will make in the lives of the less fortunate in our community. And it does make a difference. The funds raised through this walk will make it possible for the food bank to purchase and provide more fresh food items such as fruits, vegetables, milk, meat, eggs and cheese to families coming to the food bank. Participating in this event helps us to get out of ourselves and our own concerns and begin to see how the risk of homelessness and hunger affects many of our neighbours. It helps us to appreciate what we have and motivates us to give back.
LLM: What can walkers expect from their experience?
BC: Walkers can expect to be cold, but it is the kind of cold that makes you feel warm inside. Participants will walk the 2, 5 or 10km route on the “coldest night of the year” starting and ending at the South Common Community Centre. The Peel Regional Police are hosting the rest stop at 11 Division. There will be some hot drinks and goodies to warm up a bit and warm up a bit and to give you the energy to do the second half of the route. At the end, walkers will celebrate with more hot drinks and a bowl of either meat or vegan chili prepared by our own Chef Peter in our Learning Kitchen.
LLM: How can people participate?
BC: I’m looking for participants to register, start or join a team, fundraise and walk. You can go to cnoy.org/location/mississaugaerinmills to find out more information about Eden’s walk and sign up to participate.
To find out more about the Meadowvale walk for The Dam, please visit cnoy.org/location/mississaugameadowvale.
Bill Crawford Event Coordinator
Erin Mills Coldest Night of the Year
By Kristy Elik