Rachel Butler, 11, holds her dog Max during the Zumba warmup for the annual Coldest Night of the Year, Feb. 25 at Sandhill Wines. - Image Credit: Carli Berry/Capital News

Bringing awareness to homelessness

The Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser was hosted by Metro Community

It may not literally have been the coldest night of the year, but the Coldest Night of the Year fun family fundraiser brought awareness towards homelessness in Kelowna.

Hosted by Metro Community, the Coldest Night of the Year raised $56,804 towards creating a day-time centre for the community, said Metro Community lead pastor Laurence East.

“It’s a national event that takes place in 40 to 50 different locations in Canada. We kinda just want to do it better than before,” he said, as Metro Community has hosted the event for the past two years.

Eleanor Garcia walked in the event for the first time.

“The reason I decided to come out is to support what I feel is a really good organization. I’m a really big fan of Metro Community. I think it’s necessary for our city to have a presence on the street downtown. There’s a lot of people that are in a difficult place in their lives that need a helping hand or a warm place to sleep,” she said.

Participants were handed toques and warmed up with Zumba before walking different routes to raise awareness towards homelessness.

“It’s having fun, it’s a family-friendly event,” said East.

Metro Community already has the building, on the corner of St. Paul Street and Coronation Avenue. The building will be renovated to have a coffee shop, a safe centre for women and a co-working space for social agencies, said East.

The routes had participants walk the downtown area, where homelessness is more noticeable. “It made sense to do the walk in the downtown,” said East.

More than 300 people participated in the walk which started at Sandhill Wines, Feb. 25.