Coldest Night of the Year will be held Feb. 20 in Nelson. Photo: Bobbi Barbarich

Coldest Night of the Year will be held Feb. 20 in Nelson. Photo: Bobbi Barbarich

Coldest Night of the Year returns Feb. 20

The annual fundraising event will still run albeit with some changes

Submitted by Nelson CARES

Looking back over 2020, the Nelson CARES Society has had much to be grateful for in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. So many of its efforts have come to fruition, and it has the community and staff to thank for much of its successes.

As Nelson CARES heads into the New Year, it needs to continue to fundraise for the Ready for Home program. The upcoming Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) will be held on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021.

As you might expect, CNOY 2021 will look a little different this year because of COVID-19. Participants previously walked in-person in Nelson in support of Nelson CARES Society, but this year they are invited to walk and fundraise virtually.

A virtual CNOY means registrants can walk and fundraise on their own or with their team, and they’ll design their own two-kilometre or five-km route to walk, closer to home, at a time that works for them on Feb. 20th (or anytime in February).

The most important elements of the event will still be in place – Nelsonites walking in the cold and contemplating the challenges faced by those who spend their lives there. There will be lots of small gaggles walking in bubbles and after enjoying a chili dinner in the warmth of their homes.

Nelson CARES Society preserves, maintains, and develops safe, affordable housing, but sometimes a place to live is not enough, and people need some support to maintain that housing.

For the past six years, the Ready For Home program has been fully funded by Coldest Night of the Year annual events. At the core of Ready For Home is a full-time paid staff member who works one-on-one with individuals to maintain their health and housing and prevent homelessness. This program assists Nelson CARES tenants with life skills development, connection to health services, employment, and income supports — anything that will help residents stay in the affordable housing units and off the streets.

“The Housing First model is followed worldwide and has demonstrated that it is one of the most effective ways of helping people out of homelessness,” says Ron Little, Nelson CARES board chair.

“It has two parts; safe, stable, affordable housing and personal supports. The provincial government has been facilitating new housing but has yet to fully embrace personal supports. With the help of CNOY funding, we have refurbished the housing and, for the last three years, CNOY has facilitated the personal supports that have made Ward Street Place such a huge success.”

New this year with CNOY:

• The event will be a fully virtual event. Walk in your household bubble, but fundraising stays the same.

• No Registration Fee: With no registration fee, everyone is welcome to come and support the local CNOY charity. Sign up at www.cnoy.org/nelson

• Thank You Toques: The toques are blue, the pompoms are yellow, the look is on point. Build your CNOY toque collection with our thanks for raising a modest amount of $150 (adults) or $75 (youth under 17). Closer to event day, the local CNOY organizer will provide a safe way to pick it up.

• Cash + Cheques: Because we aren’t gathering together like last year, there’ll be no cash or cheque collection on event day this year. Cheques must be mailed directly to CNOY Head Office for processing. Full details on the CNOY Nelson website.

Nelson CARES Society wishes to thank their 2021 sponsors. Returning for a third year as lead sponsor is Valhalla Pure Nelson. Joining them in this role is the Nelson and District Credit Union, Nelson Home Building Centre, and Organic Matters (OM Foods). There is also an impressive list of event sponsors, including the Kootenay Co-op, Ellenwood Homes, Bowick Electric, and Derek Diener and Melanie Ward (Dominion Lending), North Mountain Construction, Nelson Ford, Mistiso’s Place Vacation Rentals, Cartolina, and NSDA Architects. If your business is interested in sponsoring this event and supporting the work of Nelson CARES Society, please reach out to cnoy@nelsoncares.ca.

We are looking for team captains, walkers, sponsors, and donors. Sign up and help make Nelson a warmer place for everyone. Head to www.cnoy.org/nelson.

Please check out the Facebook page: Coldest Night of the Year: Nelson, B.C. and the Instagram page: @coldest_night_nelson.

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