Cold walk to help homeless

Event: Citizens raise funds Feb. 25 to support Salvation Army shelter.

Organizers: Cliff Plummer

Organizers: Cliff Plummer

Salmon Arm’s big heart is showing again.

As of Tuesday, more than 30 teams had signed up for the Coldest Night of the Year, a walk set for Saturday, Feb. 25 to raise funds for homeless people in Salmon Arm.

Although the community is the smallest of those across Canada taking part in the event, it’s already near the top in terms of participants and donations pledged.

“That’s phenomenal, very exciting. Salmon Arm is such a generous community, I knew if we brought it here, people would step up,” says Dave Penner, pastor at Broadview E-Free Church, who presented the idea to the local ministerial association.

He explains that his friend and former Salmon Arm resident Mika Takamaki has been involved with an organization that does a cycling event to raise money for women who are exploited by war. It was extremely successful, so last year they decided to try a walk to raise funds for the homeless.

Now, in its second year, Salmon Arm has jumped onboard, one of 17 Canadian cities taking part.

All funds raised in Salmon Arm will come back to Salmon Arm, to support the Salvation Army Lighthouse Shelter.

Penner says Takamaki, his spouse and two young sons live in Kitchener, Ont., but the funds they raise will be targeted for Salmon Arm.

Registration is done online at www.coldestnight of the Select Salmon Arm from the Locations tab.

Cliff Plummer, minister with the Salmon Arm Church of Christ, is also spearheading the fundraiser. He’s furthering a passion he pursued in Chicago while working with organizations for the homeless there. He offers practical advice: “If you’re signing up individually, it’s important you attach yourself to one of the teams online. If you’re not sure which team, join the Lighthouse Shelter team. That’s how funds are channeled to Salmon Arm, through the teams.”

Opening ceremonies begin at 5 p.m. on Feb. 25 at First United Church on Okanagan Avenue. The walk will start at 5:15, heading out to the Mall at Piccadilly and looping around before heading back. The route is a relatively flat five kilometres, with an option for 10 by doing it twice.

Capt. Glen Fraser with the Salvation Army says the funds will be well-used, either to open the shelter or to keep it open for a longer length of time.