TRURO – With mild temperatures and the sun starting to shine, more than 200 walkers took to the streets of Truro toward the end of February for the Coldest Night of the Year walk.
The walk, in support of the Truro Homeless Outreach Society locally, raised around $50,000 for Hub House, the year-round shelter on Prince Street.
Dwight Griffiths, administrative coordinator at the shelter, said 41 teams had registered for the fourth annual walk in Truro.
“This is our biggest fundraiser of the year, so it’s nice to see the community come out to support us,” he told those gathered at the Truro Farmers’ Market just minutes before they walked two, five, or 10 kilometres, whichever they so choose.
The Coldest Night of the Year national initiative began in 2011, and more than 120 communities across Canada participated this year to help those who are “homeless, hurting, or hungry.” Griffiths said more than $16 million has been collectively raised since the fundraiser began, and Truro has finished in the Top 10 out of the country since participating three years ago.
“We often beat places like Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal…way bigger cities with 20 times the population, so the support the community shows is great,” he said, applause starting to drown out his words.
Griffiths said the walk this year celebrated the previous walks held in Truro, all with the goal of raising enough money to open a standalone, year-round shelter. That shelter opened on the corner of Prince and Havelock streets in November. The facility has a number of showers and laundry services, a common area, and is now open during the day because of the community’s support.
During the opening remarks, Griffiths wanted to acknowledge the passing of Linda Quigley, who was an “integral part of the story and the legacy” of the Truro Homeless Outreach Society.
“Linda was a driving force behind establishing the shelter from the very beginning,” he said, adding Quigley’s husband, Phillip, was also heavily involved and was chairperson of the board of directors.
“It’s a major loss for us and for the community as a whole,” said Griffiths.
While the participant numbers may have been down compared to past years, Griffiths was still happy with the turnout.
“It’s really heartwarming to see the number of people that come out from the community in support of the homeless shelter,” he said.
For more information on the Truro Homeless Outreach Society, visit their page on Facebook.