Another event in Deltassist’s fundraising initiatives goes virtual this weekend as the city’s social services agency continues to work around the COVID-19 pandemic.
Typically, this Saturday’s Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) would see all participants gather at a neighbourhood church or community hall where they are welcomed by city officials then go walk a mapped out course to raise money for the organization. It is followed by a sponsored wind-up dinner.
COVID-19 has made none of that possible this year, but that hardly means Deltassist doesn’t need the money that is applied to its food security and senior programs. Both have seen an uptick in need since the pandemic started.
Instead, the walk will be virtual with registration done through the CNOY national website, cnoy.org/location/delta. The popular CNOY toques will be distributed through the Deltassist offices and it is suggested participants map out their own walk up to five km.
“Coldest Night is an event where we draw a bigger group because of the social part of it. Right now we are seeing fundraising is down moderately,” explained Lorraine Yates, Manager of Seniors and Community Services for Deltassist.
She is counting on enough “diehard regulars” to step up again this year and even encourages straight donations for the non-walkers that also can be processed through the website. Registration remains open right up until Saturday.
Deltassist is coming off its annual Christmas Hamper and Toy Depot campaign that was adjusted to distribute gift cards to clients due to the pandemic. The community stepped up in a big way, to the point where some of the changes to the program may become permanent.
“It went surprisingly well,” said Yates. “I’m just guessing, but I think a lot of businesses that typically hold Christmas parties couldn’t do them this year and decided to donate the money instead. With COVID and job losses it was a hard year for many but people really gave.
“We will have to determine what we are going to do. We have a lot of community partners with our service clubs and we need to respect their wishes. Maybe it will be a combination. The spirit of toy depot is really nice, but gift cards for older kids makes a lot of sense.”