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Shuswap residents asked to support people struggling by joining Coldest Night of Year

Because of pandemic, walkers will sign up and then create their own two- or five-kilometre routes
From left, Serena Caner, president of Shuswap Food Action Society (SFAS); Melanie Bennett with SFAS; Jennifer Black, vice-president of finance with SASCU; Claire Askew with SFAS and Dave Wallace, operations manager with Askew’s, who are all promoting or sponsoring the Coldest Night of the Year, take time out for a photo between the uptown Askew’s and SASCU. (Contributed)

Many parents in the Shuswap, despite working full-time, are just a paycheque away from having to make impossible choices like whether to buy groceries or pay for utilities.

This is according to the Shuswap Food Action Society (SFAS) which, to raise awareness and funds for people struggling, has partnered with The Coldest Night of the Year to encourage everyone to walk in support of the hungry, hurting and homeless on Saturday, Feb. 20.

Participants will put on their winter boots and walk, either solo or with their families or teams, on self-designed routes of two or five kilometres in their communities. Due to Covid-19, there will be no single location to gather but participants will walk in solidarity – together but safely apart.

SFAS is a registered charity that works to build community and raise awareness around food security.

Collaborations include the Shuswap Community Teaching Garden, the Downtown Salmon Arm Farmer’s Market, subsidized local food boxes, and support for school-based meal programs and food literacy programs. Funds raised will assist SFAS to continue projects aimed at decreasing the barriers to people accessing and preparing healthy foods produced in the community.

Read more: Salmon Arm Coldest Night walk warms organizers’ hearts

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

SFAS is grateful for lead sponsors Askew’s and SASCU.

David Askew said Askew’s gets four to five semi-loads of deliveries every week from its principal grocery supplier in Calgary, which are supplemented by multiple weekly deliveries from local suppliers.

“During the current pandemic we have experienced shortages of many products including staples such as flour and yeast for baking. We have found local suppliers to be more reliable under such circumstances as they are committed to their local customers. At the present time, however, they supply only a small percentage of our overall requirements. We intend to continue this support (of SFAS) to help ensure the growth and development of the local food supply to the benefit of all residents of this region.”

Barry Delaney, CEO of SASCU, also spoke to the importance of community.

“Being the only financial institution with a head office in the Shuswap, SASCU is committed to its local community. We are proud to support initiatives such as Coldest Night of the Year and I am proud of the fact that last year, we had 20 staff members, along with their families, participate in the walk. We raised much needed funds for the Salvation Army who serve the homeless.”

To donate, enrol as a participant or team leader by going to

For further information about the event, contact Melanie Bennett, secretary for Shuswap Food Action Society, at
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Martha Wickett

About the Author: Martha Wickett

came to Salmon Arm in May of 2004 to work at the Observer. I was looking for a change from the hustle and bustle of the Lower Mainland, where I had spent more than a decade working in community newspapers.
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