Participants in the Coldest Night of the Year walk receive a free toque.

Participants in the Coldest Night of the Year walk receive a free toque.

Goal set for Coldest Night in Maple Ridge

The event raises money for the Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministries and takes place Feb. 25.

The fifth annual Coldest Night of the Year walk is approaching and participants are being asked to start fundraising now.

The event raises money for the Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministries and takes place Feb. 25.

The goal this year is to raise $20,000.

“We walk because especially this year it’s been so cold outside and there are still people, if you can believe it or not, in spite of many emergency weather beds being opened, there are still people choosing to live outside,” said Amelia Norrie, with Ridge Meadows Ministries.

“There are still people who don’t feel that they can come inside for a variety of reasons. So we are working to raise money to continue to serve them.”

Money raised will go towards the ministry’s food and family programs.

“Definitely part of our in-need or vulnerable population includes families and families are at risk of homelessness,” said Norrie.

“Sometimes the difference between feeding or putting a roof over your head can be a paycheck. So, if we can help feed a family and they can pay rent with the money from this, then that’s great,” Norrie added.

From now until the event date, each adult participant is being asked to raise a minimum of $150 and every child, $75.

On the walk date, registration will take place at the Salvation Army, at corner Lougheed Highway and the Haney Bypass, at 4 p.m.  The walk, with routes of two to 10 kilometers, starts at 5 p.m.

“What we wanted to do is we really wanted to concentrate the event around the downtown core,” said Norrie.

“Just so it has more visibility and it’s well lit, as well because the event does happen at night.”

The idea is also to give participants the feel for what’s like to be outside for a longer period of time, especially in the colder months.

Every participant will receive a toque and chilli dinner, either vegetarian or with meat, after they finish the walk.

Last year, $9,000 dollars was raised.

“I think the most we’ve raised was about $14,000 in the last five years in any one single event. So we really want to push the community harder and really raise that $20,000 goal this year,” said Norrie, adding that the way to do that is to sign up a team.

“We really want people to see this as a family night out. It is a couple of hours where you come out and do a good thing for a good cause.”