The Coldest Night of the Year event on February 20th2021 was possibly one of the coldest nights of the year so far in Milton

The day was cold in Milton, colder in the evening. Most participants, delighting in the glorious winter sunshine and picture perfect bright blue skies, walked during the day. Some chose to walk on a different date under the auspices of CNOY2021.

Knox Pastor Stephen Rothery walked in the darkness of the evening, alone through the streets of Milton. He had Knox Pastor Stephen arrived in Canada 14 days before the lockdown ”While everyone else was ‘Going Home’  we had nowhere to go.” he recalled, “It really made me appreciate the privilege of having somewhere safe and secure to stay when I had previously taken this for granted. While I was a youth and families’ minister in Australia I saw firsthand how important emergency and transitional housing programs are. We had a number of young adults and families needing places to stay at short notice and services like this not only kept them safe but let them focus on reestablishing their lives.”

Milton Councillor and Liberal MPP Candidate Sameera Ali said “This pandemic year has been particularly hard on our vulnerable communities which is why now more than ever we need to come together and support Milton Transitional Housing and CNOY. I would also like to thank them for their dedication and continuous hard work to fill the gaps in our community and I am proud to be a supporter of this worthy cause.”

Wendy and Bruce Schau walked together in the afternoon on a 2K route in their Timberlea neighbourhood.”It was a very different CNOY walk this year.” said Wendy, “We missed being with the other Milton Milers team members, seeing all the other walkers and volunteers and setting out all together from the Sports Centre. It’s terrific though that, despite all the changes, our wonderful community actually raised more money than ever before for MTH!  There are such great people like Donna Danielli and John Pollard running it that it is always a pleasure to do and for such a good cause.”

Usually, the walk begins after rousing speeches from Walk Director John Pollard and Donna Danielli of the MTH at the checkpoint in the Milton Sports Centre. This year they spoke virtually from the centre point at the Restore store on Main Street, where walkers could check in for photos, CNOY toques and matching Covid masks. Councillor Colin Best worked quietly and tirelessly as usual to clear the sidewalk and welcome walkers.

It was a very different ‘Coldest Night’ this year for Margot Johnson and her friend Audrey Peddie from Boston Church. For many years they have made soup and along with donations of soup from local restaurants, Margot and Audrey would serve over 200 bowls of hot soup to the walkers and volunteers. “This year” Margot said, “I walked every day and friends and relatives were so generous to support me. I would like to thank everyone and hope they keep up the good work!”

Denise Johnston and her family have been walking during the Coldest Night of the Year event for 5 years with her church family at Knox Presbyterian. Last year and this she has led the team as their Captain. She walked this year with her family in beautiful Hilton Falls. “Every year,” she said, “the ‘Knoxwalks’ Team rallies together to fundraise money and raise awareness for Milton Transitional Housing. This is such an important and life changing organization. This year, although our walk will be virtual and I will miss walking with all the participants, it’s more important than ever!  Knoxwalks was able to beat our team fundraising goal this year! I’m proud to be a part of this team!”

Rosanna Conteduca is the current President of the Italian Cultural Centre of Milton, which is a nonprofit organization run by a volunteer board. “As Captain of our CNOY Team of 15 members” she said, “We have surpassed our goal and currently have raised just over $6K. Our property sits on 15 acres of escarpment. We are creating a walking path to allow us to walk socially distanced around our property as a team”.

‘It’s cold out there!’ emphasizes The Coldest Night of the Year organizers. This year’s event ‘is a covid-safe, family-friendly walk held on February 20, 2021 to raise money for charities serving people experiencing homelessness, hurt, and hunger.. Since 2011, the Coldest Night of the Year has raised over $33,500,000 in 149 communities across Canada.

The CNOY website describes how 2021 has affected many people adversely:

‘Some people muddled through, but some slipped through the cracks.

Some people are experiencing abuse, trying to get through the day while missing meals. Searching for a safe place to sleep, maybe for the first time. Maybe they made choices they regret, or maybe they were blindsided by something totally unpredictable. And now they’re lost, wondering if there’s a place for them tonight. And it’s cold out there…..

 ‘Milton Transitional Housing is a community-based, registered Canadian charity that provides bridge accommodation and supportive counselling to people in Milton who are experiencing a housing crisis. MTH’s programme assists participants in overcoming their challenges while they work towards their own independent, stable housing.

Our goal ‘from HOPE to HOME’ summarizes our belief that lives can be rebuilt with support and assistance from their community.’

This year through donations to CNOY and Milton Transitional Housing, over $78,000 has been raised which is 112% of this year’s goal of $70,000. This is about $10,000 more than 2020.

Lorna Turner was involved in the planning and provided some statistics about the event this year:  “-as of Feb. 20, 2021 there were 34 teams; 202 walkers; 1120 donors supporting those walkers.

“One thing is for sure,” Lorna added: “the Coldest Night of the Year campaign for 2021 was a huge success in spite of (maybe because of) the pandemic! … We have had more walkers raising $1000+ (yes, that’s 3 zeros), than ever before. ..We have (at least) 20 walkers who have raised more than $1,000 EACH. That’s twice as many as any previous year. Altogether those 20 people raised more than $30,000 by themselves. And then we had another 180 walkers bringing in their own fundraising. Altogether amazing! And they are not finished yet!”

There is always room for more donations!   


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