Penny Tennenhouse is getting her steps in on a crisp but sunny Victoria day and she can’t wait to take part in the Coldest Night of the Year charity walk next weekend.
“I kind of think of it as loving in motion because we’re walking, and we’re coming together, and it’s so visible the community coming together to do this kind of thing so it’s pretty special,” Penny says.
Penny and the Avodah team she organizes have raised more than $6,500 for this year’s walk and a total of $25,000 for Our Place Society over the last five years.
“It’s not that hard!” Penny says. “You just ask and everyone gives a little and it adds up. Every time I see the numbers go up, I bounce up and down and I think I’m going to be flying on the night of the walk!”
The family-friendly walk, which is being held in cities across Canada and the U.S. on Feb. 25, raises money for local charities that help people experiencing hunger, hurt, and homelessness.
“The coldest night walk is a wonderful opportunity for our community to come out, walk with us, and support those struggling with poverty and homelessness in our community,” says Steven Seltzer of Our Place. “We want people just for one evening to know the plight that so many of our neighbours are experiencing.”
“In the world we live in today, you feel so helpless and this is a way to feel a little bit like you’re making a difference,” Penny adds. “And hopefully you’ll be making someone’s life feel a little bit better.”
Two walks are being held in Greater Victoria — one downtown, and one on the West Shore in partnership with Pacific Centre Family Services Association.
Our Place hopes to raise more than $150,000 to fund its vital programs as demand for help continues to grow.
“People feel like they’re on their own, like they don’t have solutions to the crises they face every night, there isn’t enough shelter in town,” Steven says. “All of us service providers try to do what we can but there is a such a shortage.”
So far, 70 teams and around 600 people have signed up to walk in Greater Victoria — more than anywhere else in Canada — and more than $100,000 has already been raised.
For Penny, who believes in the importance of giving back, it’s a night that warms her heart.
“We call it the coldest night of the year which is kind of cute, but I think it’s the warmest night of the year,” Penny says. “No matter how cold it is, I’m going to be feeling pretty darn good.”