There’s still time to donate to the Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser
Hosted by the Samaritan Center, the February 26 fundraiser helps defray the costs of programming and support community groups that serve vulnerable populations
Fundraising for the coldest night of the year will officially begin on Saturday, but there’s still time to contribute to the many teams that will be traveling to support the Samaritan Center.
The Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser is designed to help people better understand the challenges faced by those who are homeless during the winter.
Participants again have the chance to walk virtually this year by registering for either the 2 kilometer or 5 kilometer distances, alone or as a team. You can find the Sudbury teams here.
The official day of the walk is tomorrow, February 26, but there is still time to donate.
The Coldest Night of the Year is the only fundraising event the Samaritan Center undertakes, and it not only helps the center itself, but the other organizations that share its roof.
The Samaritan Center is home to the Elgin Street Mission and the Blue Door Soup Kitchen, two much-needed meal programs that, while funding allows them to pay some rent, don’t cover building costs or overhead.
“This fundraiser allows us to reduce their costs,” said Lisa Long, executive director of the Samaritan Center. “A lot of our costs have gone up, utilities are $50,000 a year.” Fundraising helps with construction costs, but also helps with programming.
“We have exponentially increased our programming in and around COVID, and we will continue even when COVID passes, to continue doing what we have been doing.”
The Samaritan Center has a new drop-in centre, open during the day, as well as access to showers, laundry, internet and other services needed by vulnerable populations in Sudbury. In addition, services are offered within the center, such as the nurse practitioner clinic they house, as well as substance use disorder recovery groups, a reflexologist and a hairdresser who volunteer, as well as many organizations that share a common goal.
“We partner with any agencies that want to use our space, as many downtown agencies serve our same clients, in different capacities,” Long said.
For example, the ACCESS Network conducts HIV and Hepatitis C testing at the center, as well as new programs for vulnerable women and even Laurentian University, which recently used the space with researchers leading studies to better understand youth homelessness.
“We are very keen on setting aside space for care for community groups and for services that are specific to our vulnerable population,” Long said.
Last year the event was also virtual, and not knowing what the limits would be with COVID-19, Long said she set a goal of $50,000, which the Sudbury community easily met. and exceeded, generating $70,000 for the cause. This year, she hoped the $70,000 mark would be hit again. This goal was achieved on February 16.
And now that goal has been shattered, with the tally now standing at $100,506.
You can find updates and more information on the Samaritan Center Facebook page here.