The mild weekend weather gave the Coldest Night of the Year walk a boost in participants.
“We had a number of people who walked on. They happened to be walking by Grace United Church and they wandered in, asked what was going on and joined us,” says Lloydminster Men’s Shelter executive director Valerie Lazicki.
CNOY is an annual fundraiser held on the same night across the country. The event reminds residents that not everyone has a home to stay in during the winter. This year, the walk raised $17,130 out of its $20,000 goal but including the money gathered from the silent auction and donations taken in at the walk, Lazicki says it is closer to $18,500. Lazicki says they’ve had outstanding support from the community this past winter.
“When the weather gets cold, people really step up. It’s interesting because people start calling to check in and make sure our clients aren’t out there in the cold weather. I appreciate people reaching out to us.”
Proceeds from the walk will go to cover the operating costs for both the Lloydminster Men’s Shelter and the drop-in centre. The route for the walk changed to circle around 49 Avenue where there was an opportunity for people to visit the drop-in centre.
“We were really happy to have that drop-in centre open this year because we hit some pretty cold weather during the winter. [It’s] a place where the community can go and spend the day during those really cold days and have some warm food and get access to winter clothing.”
Mayor Gerald Aalbers says he also took a tour of the centre and wants to remind residents that the services are open to everyone in need.
“It was terrific to see the work that they are doing there. Men, women and younger people; it’s not just men who don’t have a place to go during the day. It’s serving a need in the community. The staff and volunteers there are terrific and I encourage people to take time to drop by and maybe even consider volunteering.”
Lazicki says they currently plan to keep the drop-in centre open year-round as the need for their services doesn’t end with the winter.
While the Men’s Shelter hasn’t reached their goal before the event, donations are still open until the end of March.