The Coldest Night Of The Year walk in Langley was on track to reach its goal of $20,000 despite less-than-ideal weather.
“We were a little bit nervous because of the snow,” said Emmy Skates, the executive director of the Gateway of Hope homeless shelter.
But with donations still coming in as the walk got underway Saturday night, and an interim total of $14,500, Skates was optimistic residents of the Langleys would come through.
“We’re almost there,” she said.
An estimated 160 people walked in the event, including 20 teams.
There were 55 volunteers who helped coordinate the routes, including Doreen Mercer, who was limping from having undergone major foot surgery just four weeks earlier.
“Because it’s a good cause,” she said, when asked why.
The mayors of the Langleys, City mayor Ted Schaffer and Township mayor Jack Froese, both spoke at the starting point for the event at the shelter.
“Most people here tonight will pack up after a brisk walk and head home for a hot chocolate and a good sleep in a warm bed,” Schaffer said.
“This is a time to remember that not everyone is so fortunate as to have access to the very basic needs,” Schaffer added.
City Councillors Paul Albrecht, Gayle Martin, Rudy Storteboom and Val van den Broek also attended.
Froese praised the people who operate the shelter.
“We’re here one night, they’re here every day,” Froese said, “and they’re making lives better for people who are marginalized and those who find it difficult to find shelter.
The money raised will be used to help the Gateway of Hope provide ongoing programs and services to those needing them in the Langleys including emergency shelter; seasonal relief shelter; extreme weather response; transitional housing; medical services; clothing and housewares assistance; food hampers; and school supplies.
CNOY raises money with and for approved Canadian charities, which serve thousands of Canadians experiencing homelessness, and thousands more facing the constant challenge of living right on the edge.
The Salvation Army Gateway of Hope has hosted a CNOY walk in Langley since 2014.
There were three distances to choose from — 2 km, 5 km, and 10 km.
On return to the Gateway of Hope after the walk, participants were treated to a bowl of homemade chili or a hot dog and warm beverages with music provided by local band The Reminders Dixieland Jazz Band.
The Gateway of Hope is a homeless shelter as well as a multi-program residential facility.
Services include an emergency shelter, meal centre, transitional housing and family services, with a goal of breaking the cycle of homelessness.