By Wendy Elliott
Kings County’s Open Arms has collected over $2,000 in a national fundraising effort for the homeless, called Coldest Night of the Year.
The walk doesn’t even take place until late February.
“We are holding on to top spot in the country with top funding, top number of teams registered and over 35 walkers,” said spokesman John Andrew. Currently, Open Arms has 13 teams.
Open Arms is the only participating organization in Nova Scotia and Kings County is one of 34 communities nationally to focus on poverty and homelessness across Canada.
“Many people are still unaware of what Open Arms is or that we provide the only emergency shelter program in the Annapolis Valley,” Andrew said.
“Too many people assume other groups do this work… Nonetheless, this event will surely aid in much-needed communication with the broader community.”
The main drop-in centre, located at the back of the Cornwallis Inn in Kentville, provides a number of programs and meals, working in conjunction with the emergency shelter. Andrew said volunteer numbers have grown to more than 200.
“Additionally, we are providing emergency food delivery and distribution of used furniture for Eastern Kings County and have begun drop-in/outreach in Berwick. Inn From The Cold has received guests from Windsor to Digby and beyond for nearly 10 years now,” Andrew adds.
The Coldest Night of the Year is a non-competitive five- and 10-kilometre winter walk fundraiser supporting select Canadian charities that serve the hungry, homeless and hurting in cities and communities across Canada. It will be held on Feb. 23, 2013.
In 2011, the walk was piloted in Toronto and Kitchener/Waterloo. A passionate group of 406 walkers raised $110,000. In 2012, the walk expanded to 18 cities across the country and raised $668,000 with the help of 3,075 walkers.
For 2013, the Coldest Night of the Year hopes to raise more than $1 million.