The Coldest Night of the Year

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A cold night down this street wouldn’t seem so bad Josh Hild via unsplash

Many people don’t have the opportunity to choose whether they stay in the cold

For all of us Saskatchewan residents, we know that the weather can get a little crazy in the winter (saying “a little crazy” because I am being nice). We all know this crazy weather can go from anywhere between –5C to -40C for a week straight, giving us extreme weather warnings telling us to stay inside because it can be too dangerous to go outside. For some of us, when we are in extreme weather, we have a home with heat to stay in. Some of us are not all that lucky, and that is what we are going to talk about today: a fundraiser that takes place in Regina for those who are not so lucky when it comes to having a place to stay in the cold.

Today we are going to be talking about the Coldest Night in of the Year walk and how to fundraise money to aid homeless individuals in Saskatchewan. The Coldest Night of the Year walk is run by the YWCA. This walk often takes place in downtown Regina, where participants can choose to walk anywhere from 2.5 to 10 kilometres to fundraise money for families that experience homeless. To get everyone more of an insight to what it is like to be involved with the Coldest Night of the Year walk, the Carillon interviewed Ashely Hill-Boudreau, who has participated in this event for a few years now.

How many times have you participated in this fundraiser?

Our team has walked in the fundraiser four times starting in 2016.

What is your motivation to keep doing this year after year?

The cause: family homelessness is an issue that is prevalent in our city, and helping the YWCA raise funds so that they can provide support to our most vulnerable is important. We also keep each other motivated and look forward to the walk each year. We have finished in the top three fundraising teams the past three walks and that also motivates us – to always do more than the year before!

How many layers do you wear to prepare yourself for this cold weather?

We have only had one walk (2016) that was really cold! Layers are key for any winter activity in Regina. I think the most I personally have worn is three layers.

What are some ways you warm your body up fast when doing this walk? Maybe some jumping jacks?

We walk faster! There is such a feeling of community among the walkers that you are chatting while walking, so sometimes you don’t notice it. Sometimes jogging in place at a stop light will help too! There are always lots of rosy cheeks at the end of the walk though.

What is one takeaway or feeling that you get from this walk that helps you be thankful for the opportunity to only experience this cold feeling one night a year while others may experience it daily?

I like the incredible community that we have here, the generosity of Regina. Twice now during the walk, we have been stopped by people wanting to learn about the ‘people with the hats’ – each year if you fundraise a certain level, you get a themed toque – and help. One kind soul gave us a toonie to donate in their name and it was most likely the only one that they had; the YWCA had helped them in the past and they wanted to give back. The CNOY walk is a very important cause to support. The winters here are so cold and it’s up to everyone to help. We are a community; that’s what community does.

What are some ways that you get others involved with this fundraiser to try and raise more money?

You can get involved by talking about it, and sharing stats on what homelessness looks like in our city. I think people have stereotyped ideas about what being displaced is and who is displaced. Learning more about the scope of it and how many women and children need a safe place. Learning what the YWCA does, what My Aunt’s Place does, and how each of us can help creates awareness which creates change.

 How can people get involved with this fundraiser and become a participant? Share information about it, go to the Coldest Night of the Year’s website to learn about the initiative (https://cnoy.org/home), learning more about our local YWCA (https://ywcaregina.com/) and what they do for our city. Follow their social, if you are able to, donate – donations can be made up until March 31! Local business often put up flyers with QR codes that you can scan and donate right at checkout

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