Participants in the 2019 Coldest Night of the Year walk in Salmon Arm pump their fists to get their blood pumping and energy going ahead of the start of the walk, which left from Salmon Arm City Hall. (File photo)

Salvation Army’s Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser in Salmon Arm welcomes you

Make community connections while taking a walk and contributing to $35,000 goal

Lieutenant Joel Torrens of the Salvation Army did a little research recently.

The Coldest Night of the Year walk and fundraiser is coming up fast, to be held on Saturday, Feb. 22.

He was wondering what he was doing on past coldest nights, so he looked at his photos.

In 2016 he was watching the Super Bowl, so he ordered pizza and stayed home.

In 2017 he was sitting in a hot tub in Harrison.

“These are normal days for me, they don’t stand out.”

The point, he says, is that the Coldest Night fundraiser is about reminding people there are others who don’t have that luxury, the luxury of watching the Super Bowl or going away for a bit of a retreat.

He sees it as a good opportunity to come together as a community and think about what people are fortunate to have, while recognizing there are people who don’t have these things.

Torrens encourages people to register to walk or to go online to donate.

If you go to the Coldest Night of the Year website, you’ll be able to see which teams are participating, who the team members are, how much money they’ve raised.

There’s a two-kilometre route and a five-kilometre route. The five-kilometre starts and ends at city hall and goes as far as Blackburn Park.

Read more: Salmon Arm’s Salvation Army officers enthusiastic about future in the community

Read more: Salmon Arm supports good cause during Coldest Night of the Year

Read more: 2012 – Salmon Arm’s Coldest Night of the Year ranks third in Canada

The fundraising goal listed is $35,000.

Torrens says one of the big things the Salvation Army is looking at right now is understanding how it can work with other agencies in Salmon Arm to work with the community.

“There are a lot of people here who care about those who are vulnerable,” he says, explaining he wants to work together to set up plans so people can really have their lives transformed.

“We’re hoping to have seed money to do things differently, not to do different things,” he emphasizes, noting the goal is helping people towards sustainability and self-sufficiency.

He says services are offered but sometimes the services people need are not.

Torrens gives the example of the Salvation Army in Regina. Volunteers there discovered a guy who had a job offer but couldn’t take it because he didn’t have steel-toed boots. So they got him steel-toed boots.

“What that meant in the long term was instead of sustaining him for a long period of time they were able to meet that need in the moment.”

Torrens emphasizes the Salvation Army is not going to stop doing anything it’s currently doing.

“We will do everything we can to maintain those services. But we want to be more intentional…”

He hopes people will come out to the Coldest Night of the Year to continue the connections.

“It’s just a wonderful community; we’re so thankful to be here.”
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Walkers gather outside city hall for the 2018 Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser. All proceeds go to the Lighthouse Emergency Shelter and Second Harvest Food Bank. (File photo)

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