Written by Britany Ardelli
Have you ever felt so cold in the midst of winter your face feels frozen, like it can barely move and your legs feel like they are about to crack open? That was me at the Coldest Night of the Year Walk. This was a temporary and voluntary situation for me, but for over 3500 homeless Calgarians this can be a reoccurring feeling that they have to endure.
As I walked into EauClaire Market on Saturday, February 21st 2015 I saw people everywhere wearing matching tuques and dressed as if they were going to the ski hill. With 400+ registered walkers to help support the Coldest Night Of the Year, I was ready to embark on a committed 5 km walk.
The walk was kicked off by the Raging Grannies singing to encourage city counsellors to vote and pass secondary suites and none other than the greatest mayor in the world, Mayor Nenshi, ensuring every volunteer and participant was thanked for our time and monetary donations.
We were then sent on our way into the cold. It’s quite ironic that it’s called The Coldest Night of the Year, because with a fresh new layer of snow, and a windy -16 degrees, it was for sure the coldest night that Calgary had seen in a few weeks.
Along the walk we had cars honking their horns in encouragement, photographers taking our pictures, and volunteers guiding our way to ensure we followed the path set out. Just over an hour later we were done and we were cold!! The thought that people stay outside all day, and even sleep in these conditions, made me so proud that I raised money and completed the walk! It was great to see the community come together to raise money and support the cause to end homelessness!
Proceeds from the Coldest Night of the Year in Calgary will benefit Feed the Hungry and Acadia Place, a 58 unit affordable housing complex owned by the Calgary Homeless Foundation and operated by CUPS. Through the support of KAIROS, the money donated to Acadia Place will be provided to pay down the mortgage on Acadia Place through the RESOLVE Campaign, a unique collaboration of nine Partner agencies raising $120 million to build affordable and supported rental housing for 3,000 vulnerable and homeless Calgarians, .