The frigid weather Milton experienced after Christmas was the talk of the town. But such exclamations on the snow and below freezing temperatures were conversations held by those who had a warm home to settle into at night. For some, there is no safe haven at the end of the day. Homelessness, and those on the brink of it, is something experienced every day all across Canada. In an effort to help, a uniting campaign was born – The Coldest Night of the Year.
This fun, family friendly walk-a-thon will take place in cities all across the country, and in Milton, on Saturday, February 24, 2018. To gear up for the event, and offer Miltonians an opportunity to register in person, the event’s launch party was held at the Milton Sports Centre from 1-3 pm on Saturday, January 20th. Milton’s organizer includes volunteers and team members from Milton Transitional Housing – a community based charity that provides bridge accommodation and supportive counseling to people in Milton who are experiencing a housing crisis.
The organization created a warm gathering in the front room of the Sports Centre. Visitors and registrants were offered a selection of warm beverages including coffee and hot chocolate, as well as a special snowflake cookie by Spoonful of Sugar. On each table was an array of winter themed crafts to keep children engaged. Chany Santamaria looked on as her son Eric Ortiz created a snowman out of construction paper while they waited for his sister Nicole to finish a figure skating practice. In the corner, a pin the carrot on the snowman game was ready for willing participants. The organizers were sporting the CNOY winter toques.
MTH Board Member and Ward 6 Town Councillor John Pollard notes the ways in which the organization helps a selec – tion of community members. He describes how they create stability through financial support, counselling, employment assistance, housing, and a specialized case worker. The goal of which is to eventually see graduates supporting themselves in their own home. Funds raised through the walk will be put towards MTF’s organizational and housing costs.
Community members are encouraged to register individually for $25, or with a team of friends, family, or neighbours. Registration is followed by fundraising (though this is not required) before the walk on February 24. Coldest Night of the Year provides participants with the tools needed to share the word through social media. All ages are welcome and there is a variety of walk lengths to choose from including 2K, 5K, and 10K.
Milton Transitional Housing Executive Director Donna Danielli reminds us of the message behind the event: “We are raising awareness about Coldest Night of the Year, and Milton Transitional Housing. Many people feel that Milton is an affluent society and they don’t realize how many of our neighbours are homeless, hungry, and hurting.”
For more information on the walk, and how to register, visit www.cnoymilton.ca
Photos by: Sarah Arfan