Competition is heating up in the Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser, however, in the end, there are no losers.
The annual fundraising event supports the Sources’ homeless prevention services and rent bank program. The event is proceeding again this year, but due to the pandemic, the 2021 iteration will be virtual-only.
While the true winner is Sources, the CNOY event tends to inspire friendly competition for the teams participating.
Sources CEO David Young has led the fundraising effort for the last number of years, but this year, White Rock Pride Society is giving Young a run for his money.
As of Feb. 9, Young’s team, The Virtually Virtuous, had raised $11,800, while Pride Society raised $12,135. Following the Pride Society is the Rotary Club of White Rock, which has raised $11,675 so far.
As of Tuesday, 49 teams had raised $106,063 for Sources Community Resource Society. The society has set a goal of $120,000.
“The more competition there is amongst us to raise funds, the better off it is for the recipient of the fundraiser,” said Pride Society president Ernie Klassen. “I’m happy to make it into a competition so we can work harder at it.”
Young agreed with the notion that there’s a friendly competitive element to the fundraiser, not only locally, but across the country.
“It’s really quite a joy to see how people are stepping up within our community and across Canada to support others who are less fortunate,” Young said.
This year marks the first time the Pride Society as joined as a team, and the amount of money raised, Klassen said, has been surprising.
“I have only once ever participated in this personally. I thought it was a great cause. The Pride Society, like everybody else, can’t really be doing any kind of events or anything. This is more fun than just sitting on a zoom meeting.”
“It gives us a bit of a purpose.”
Klassen said his team is open to anyone, and so far Surrey-White Rock MLA Trevor Halford and former White Rock mayor, MLA, and MP, Gordie Hogg have joined the squad.
“At this point, everybody has been out there connecting with their social circle and raising funds that way,” said Klassen, who owns the Ashberry & Logan flower shop.
“We haven’t had any events, we’re not soliciting. I talk to my customers, some of them I know, but I don’t even have a donation box.”
The individual participants who have collected the most money, to date, include Deanna Kratzenberg ($6,850), Srinivasan Rajagopal ($3,975), Klassen ($2,935), Young ($2,610), and Megan Knight ($2,590).
Young said the money raised through the Coldest Night event goes a long way to support people in the community.
“COVID has exacerbated some of the underlying challenges that communities face, particularly people who are fragile or are living on the edge financially,” Young said. “So these monies will help us to support the mental health needs, the food security needs, and the housing needs of many people in the community.”
Under normal circumstances, the event – which has been held in White Rock and hosted by Sources Community Resource Centres since 2014 – would feature hundreds of people, all bundled up against the cold, walking near the city’s waterfront as way to raise funds and awareness for Sources’ homelessness prevention services and rent bank program.
Rather than one night, this year’s virtual event is scheduled for a three-day period, Friday, Feb. 19 through Sunday, Feb. 21. Anytime during that three-day period, participants are encouraged to complete either a two- or five-km walk close to home and “with their household or safe bubble, following the recommendations of our Provincial Health Officer and local health authorities.”
Organizers have created a Facebook group (www.facebook.com/groups/sourcescnoy2021) where participants in this year’s event can share fundraising tips, walk-route ideas, event information and “photos to inspire one another.”
A virtual opening ceremony Friday, as well as a closing ceremony Sunday, will be hosted on the Facebook page.
To donate or join a team, visit https://cnoy.org/location/whiterock