Hundreds support St. Catharines Coldest Night of the Year

Photo credit:  Brian Yungblut and Paul Schmidt Photography

Photo credit: Brian Yungblut and Paul Schmidt Photography

Over 400 walkers turned out to Start Me Up Niagara’s Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) fundraiser in St. Catharines last Saturday.

CNOY is a family-friendly national walk-a-thon that helps raise funds for charities that serve hungry, homeless and hurting people in over 136 communities across Canada. A CNOY event is held in each of these communities or cities and all funds raised go towards that particular location.

This year’s walk in the City of St. Catharines was hosted by Start Me Up Niagara with a goal of raising $150,000.  With the help of 465 walkers, 59 teams and 91 volunteers, CNOY St. Catharines managed to raise a total of $133,048, which is approximately 88 per cent of their goal. This is a major increase from last year’s fundraiser which saw just over 300 walkers who raised $128,000 for the cause.

Brock University organizes a team for the event each year and set a goal of raising at least $500 for the charity in this year’s walk. As of Sunday, February 23 the team has managed to collectively raise $545.

Outside of the City of St. Catharines, several CNOY events were held in the cities that make up the Niagara region over the weekend with many reaching or exceeding their fundraising goals.

Start Me Up Niagara helps people who are homeless, isolated or dealing with an addiction. It assists with housing, support for people receiving disability payments and provides a drop-in centre on 17 Gale Crescent, St. Catharines that offers hot lunches, access to a phone or mail as well as nursing and mental health services.

Though CNOY is their biggest fundraiser, having raised over $750,000 since its launch in 2013, Start Me Up Niagara continues to seek support with their other initiatives and continues to welcome volunteers.

Currently, the organization is running their Out of the Cold overnight shelter program in many locations across the St. Catharines downtown area. Out of the Cold offers a hot meal with the option of a bed for the night. The meal and bed are provided at separate locations and meal locations vary by day of the week. The program will continue to be run every night until March 31 and the complete schedule can be found on Start Me Up Niagara’s website.

Though the walk has passed, individuals who desire to donate to the St. Catharines CNOY fundraiser can still do so by visiting their website www.cnoy.org/location/stcatharines and donating on behalf of any of the teams or walkers listed. Those interested in engaging with Start Me Up Niagara and learning more about their other initiatives can visit www.startmeupniagara.ca.

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