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"Coldest Night" Leaves Warm Legacy

Updated: Mar 11

First time SHHS fundraiser in Squamish

A damp and chilly evening walk doesn't seem like anyone's favourite activity, especially at this time of year. But recently more than 250 walkers gathered in Squamish to raise money for those who might have less of a choice about battling the elements.

The Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) event is a international fund-raising walk in support of local charities that serve people experiencing hurt, hunger, and homelessness. With walks taking place in more than 200 communities across Canada for the past 12 years, CNOY has raised more than $70 million toward fighting homelessness.

Squamish Helping Hands Society (SHHS) staged a walk along Cleveland Avenue and through the downtown core on February 24, raising money to provide warm beds, hot meals, school breakfasts and lunches and food hampers to vulnerable folks in the community. 

SHHS is a charitable organization that provides food, shelter and support to adults who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Michelle Cronier helped organize this year's inaugural event for SHHS. She calls it a great success, with more than 250 walkers, 22 sponsors and over 50 volunteers in attendance in spite of gloomy weather. With more than $82,000 raised, Cronier says the group exceeded their fundraising goal by more than 60%.

"We had a wonderful response from the community and plan to host the event on an annual basis. We see this as a legacy event for SHHS, inspiring community connection, dialogue and action long past the actual event itself."

To that end, Coldest Night of the Year donations are still being accepted until March 31 HERE.

"This type of campaign creates a lot of awareness about the society throughout the community and invites supporters to become advocates for the work we do," says Cronier. "It raises internal awareness and inspires deep reflection amongst participants."

Cronier says that SHHS will reach out to the community again next fall to invite sponsors, participants and volunteers to join them for the second annual Coldest Night of the Year event on February 22, 2025.

"This event has the potential to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for Squamish Helping Hands each year. It is also an incredible opportunity to galvanize our community and raise awareness about what it might be like for our friends experiencing homelessness in this frigid weather," she says.

In the meantime, SHHS accepts donations year-round on their website HERE.

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