Brock University’s team for the Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) will walk in support of Start Me Up Niagara (SMUN).
CNOY is a national initiative to address homeless across Canada.
The CNOY event in St. Catharines is an annual family friendly walk that raises funds for SMUN, who serves the hungry, homeless and others who may be struggling in the community .
The fundraiser will take place on February 22, 2020. Registration will open at 4:00 p.m. in the downtown Market Square. The walk will begin at 5:15 p.m..The evening will conclude with music and a meal by 8:00 p.m.
“I think the participation by Niagara in a national event is important. It draws attention to the fact that homelessness is not just happening in Niagara, but across the whole country and the whole country wants action to resolve the issue,” said Susan Venditti, executive director for SMUN.
But for SMUN, the St. Catharines CNOY walk helps to raise much needed funds for the shelters right here in the city.
“For SMUN, [CNOY] is our major fundraiser of the year. And it gives us funds that we can apply directly to the programs we operate to help individuals who are homeless, our drop in center and our housing program. It helps top up budgets that are never really adequate and it provides enhanced services,” said Venditti.
Brock students will walk at the event to help raise money and awareness for these issues around homelessness in the community.
“I think it is really cool that [CNOY] happens across Canada compared to some of our other walks and that we get to do it right here in our community. We get to fundraise for the St. Catharines community and SMUN does stuff for our homeless community. St. Catharines has one of the largest and we see that when we are walking downtown and doing things as students and being able to support them in this way is a unique opportunity,” said Kaitlyn Tabet, student lead for CNOY at Student Life Brock.
Tabet encourages students, staff and their families to join the Brock team through the CNOY website, where they can also donate to the cause.
In the past the fundraiser has been a great success for SMUN. Every dollar helps to support people in need. They have big hopes for this year as well.
“Last year in St. Catharines we raised $126,000. Our goal this year is $150,000 and we are very confident that we are going to raise that because in this community, the support of the whole issue is increasing exponentially,” said Venditti.
Coming together as a community is important for CNOY and SMUN because it is the best way to help get more people housed, according to Venditti.
For more information on CNOY or to join the Brock Team go to cnoy.org.