Feature Story                                                   Tuesday, February 23, 2016


Street Angels

Warm-hearted walkers raise money for Chilliwack youth centre

Staff/Voice photos


Coldest night of the Year trekkers wait at a crosswalk as they make their way through downtown Saturday.


n icy moon sat frozen on a pale blue sky as somewhere between 100-150 pumped people assembled Saturday at First Ave Church for the annual Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) walk. Pulling on the iconic blue toques, and with a crispy white Mt. Slesse behind them, they set off on a 5km trek to raise awareness about homelessness in the community.


Proud participants smiled and waived at traffic as the line of walkers stretched out north on Broadway and west on Yale, before winding through downtown and back to the church. Chilliwack Fire Department Engine 1-3 crew provided an escort.


Groups taking part paid $125, individuals paid $25. This year, the money was earmarked for the Cyrus Centre, a faith-based organization from Abbotsford devoted to wayward teens with a branch on Wellington Ave in Chilliwack.


HUB International Barton Insurance team walker Alison Gemmel, taking part in CNOY for the first time with her husband Kevin, told The Voice she got quite a workout beforehand carting in all the cases of complimentary bottled water generously donated by Barton.


Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl, who was just in Ottawa, quipped with The Voice that he'd he left his runners back east, but was going on the walk nevertheless.


Chilliwack Fire Department Engine 1-3 crew ham it up for the cameras before escorting the walkers and keeping it safe on Saturday.


"It's a great event that raises awareness and even though it looks like it's going to be a nice night here, there's lots of nights, where people, especially homeless people, or those at-risk of being homeless in the night on a cold street, and it's good to raise awareness of that and to raise some money for people that help those people that are at-risk. So I'm proud to be a part of this tonight.


Other familiar faces on the walk were Chilliwack MLA John Martin and Chilliwack-Hope MLA Laurie Throness.


"I'm here with this great crowd for one cause and that is to help youths who are in trouble who want to stay at the Cyrus Centre," Throness told The Voice. "It turned out to be a beautiful evening, so I'm looking forward to stepping out and enjoying a couple of kilometers."


See more photos below.



About CNOY

Since 2011, the Coldest Night of the Year has raised $7.9 million dollars through the tireless efforts of each of our well known and well respected location partners (charities). Each Coldest Night of the Year location is operated by a local, community-based registered Canadian charity working in agreement with the Coldest Night of the Year. CNOY is administered by Blue Sea Philanthropy.



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