Coldest Night of the Year raises $39K for Parkland Food Bank Society


By Mamta Lulla
About 170 people came out to walk during the Coldest Night of the Year event on Feb. 24 in Spruce Grove.
The event, that takes nationwide, raises money for local charities serving hungry, homeless and hurting families and youth in 120 communities across Canada.
Spruce Grove’s Parkland Food Bank took part in the walk for the second time this year.
Last year, about 117 walkers raised about $21,000. This year, the event grew with more people and about $39,969 raised in donations.
Sheri Ratsoy, executive director at Parkland Food Bank, said online donations are open until March 31 and the organization is hoping to surpass $40,000.
Donations can be made at cnoy.org by selecting Spruce Grove.
The organization aimed to raise $30,000 this year. Ratsoy is pleased to see the support and generosity of the community.
Walkers were divided into teams with team captains and had been fundraising for about a month leading up to the event. They had a choice to walk two, five or 10 kilometre walks.
The walk started at St. Matthews Lutheran Church at 5:15 p.m. on a not-so-cold evening.
“It was beautiful, only about -2 C and the sun was shining. It definitely wasn’t the coldest night of the year which was really good,” she said.
After the walk, participants were invited back to the church to enjoy a simple meal of soup and a bun and coffee – just like the homeless do.
“It’s something that’s reflective of a homeless person – walking and going to a shelter and getting a meal,” said Ratsoy.
The organizers decided to have the walk through Spruce Grove’s downtown area which got local business owners excited. Ratsoy said owners were handing out food samples like beef jerky and potato chips and cheering on the participants.
“They were out on the sidewalks and supporting the walkers,” she said.
The money raised will be used towards the society’s general expenses like buying food items and paying for the heat and power bills for the building.

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