Island communities stepping up for Coldest Night of the Year

Island communities stepping up for Coldest Night of the Year

WATCH: People are stepping up to end homelessness in our province. Ceilidh Millar reports.

Hours before a wintery night in Greater Victoria, volunteers at Our Place Society are slicing and dicing hundreds of pounds of onions and carrots for an important meal.

“We’ve served 50 per cent more meals over the last three weeks then we do normally because of the cold spell,” said Don Evans of Our Place in Victoria.

Food, donations of warm clothing and shelter spaces have been in high demand during February’s cold snap across Vancouver Island.

“There’s definitely a need to get people inside,” Evans explained.

Greater Victoria’s Emergency Weather Protocol has been activated 18 nights this month as overnight temperatures dip below freezing.

“It looks like there might be some more cold temperatures coming up in a couple of days,” said Jen Wilde of the Greater Victoria’s Emergency Weather Response Program.

It’s a reminder that the weather can be unpredictable and even deadly.

“It’s just challenging, in general, to be living on the streets and then to have the inclement weather involved,” Wilde explained. “It just puts everything into a next level crisis.”

Luckily communities across the Island and country are stepping up to help.

Saturday is Canada’s national walk for homelessness, a growing movement that began in Ontario in 2011 and has raised more than $16 million.

“The walk actually brings awareness to the people around us,” said participant Xavier Muoy.

There are eight ‘Coldest Night of the Years’ walks happening across the Island tomorrow including two in Victoria.

Our Place says they have more than 300 participants sign-up for their walk.

Participants will walk in either a two-, five- or 10-kilometre route around the city.

They hope to surpass their fundraising goal of more than $50,000.

“We’re hoping to have hundreds of walkers that are walking the streets of Victoria tomorrow night and just really supporting the people that are less fortunate,” Evans said.

To sign-up or learn more about the walk, visit the website. 

And also tomorrow night, CHEK will be airing US and Them at 8 p.m.,  a compelling documentary that follows four individuals for 10 years on the streets of Victoria.

Ceilidh MillarCeilidh Millar

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