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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Saturday Will Be The Coldest Night Of The Year

Orillia | by Ian MacLennan  

Hundreds expected to attend fundraising walk for The Lighthouse Soup Kitchen and Shelter.

This Saturday will be the Coldest Night of the Year in Orillia.

That's the name of the walk and the biggest fundraiser for The Lighthouse Soup Kitchen and Shelter.

Executive Director Linda Goodall says they expect over 600 participants to walk either 2, 5 or 10 kilometres.

Money raised is used for the operation of the shelter and soup kitchen.

A certain amount will be set aside for the Building Hope initiative, which is to build a new shelter for men, women, families and youth, as well as an expansion of the soup kitchen, and mental health and addiction counselling services.

Goodall says $103,000 was raised last year, making Orillia, per capita, the number one Coldest Night of the Year location across Canada.

This year's target is $100,000 and Goodall says they are well on the way there, adding donations are accepted online until the end of March.

She says people in other locations in the country always ask what Orillia is doing and she says it's because they have great community support.

The Lighthouse Soup Kitchen and Shelter has 14 beds for men and serves about 25,000 meals a year.

Goodall says there is a housing crisis in the region and that is why there are more people who are experiencing homelessness.

The CNOY walk starts at Lions Oval Public School,  registration at 4 pm,  opening ceremonies at 5 pm, to be followed by the walk.

The 2 k walk takes participants to the Lighthouse shelter,  while the 5 and 10 k goes to the Building Hope property on Queen Street.

Goodall says Coldest Night of the Year is a powerful event because you get together hundreds of people wearing the same toques walking down the street in support of those experiencing homelessness.

She says you feel the energy and it's one of the events in Orillia.

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