Prairie Post (East Edition)
Coldest Night of the Year efforts will warm many hearts
It may no longer be thirty below, but the Mustard Seed in Medicine Hat hopes to remind residents that for those experiencing homelessness, the Coldest Night of the Year has yet to come.
Though the official fundraiser walk was set for February 26th, and participants had until the end of February to pledge to brave the cold and walk to raise awareness for those facing “homelessness, hurt, and hunger” in Medicine Hat, said Morgan Widmer with the Medicine Hat Mustard Seed.
“We're just encouraging walkers to get outside with their families. And then they can walk whatever route they would like by their home. There is a two or five kilometre route that is posted on the website if they'd like to do that. And they have until the official walk is (Feb. 26), but they have until the end of February to finish their walk,” said Widmer.
It was a success.
The Medicine Hat Coldest Night of the Year had a total of 53 walkers, and raised $15,215, approximately 60% of their $25,000 goal. All the proceeds go to the daily functions of the Mustard Seed, including the 18,648 meals served between January 21st and December 31st in 2021.
However, Widmet notes that one of the most valuable things that the Coldest Night offers is awareness of what others in the community may be experiencing.
“It's to help bring awareness to what you know, people, our most vulnerable population, have to deal with being out on the streets or not having a warm place to stay in. So this is just really getting the word out and getting people more aware of what they go through during the cold and during the winter,” said Widmer. “And then it also brings awareness to what services are available, and what resources they have. So all the money that is donated helps these people access these services. For our meal program, we have a Wellness Center, we have other resources that we can connect them to. So really it's about bringing awareness and showing people kind of what they go through.”
At the time of writing, there are currently 53 pledged walkers hoping to help the Mustard Seed fulfil their goal of raising $25,000 dollars for their various services and supports during what Widmer mentions as one of the biggest fundraisers conducted all year.
“The money raised helps, definitely, so we can keep these programs running. With it, we can introduce new programs and services. It's one of our biggest fundraisers, but really, It's just a fun event where we can create awareness, people can get outside, walk together and raise money for a vulnerable population,” said Widmer.