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Annual fundraiser huge success for local charity

Inn From the Cold benefits from community’s generosity

The Coldest Night of the Year 2023 brought a lot of warmth to Newmarket on February 25.

The annual fundraiser raised record amounts of money for Inn From The Cold and attracted record numbers of walkers and sponsors as well. Inn From The Cold realised $158,288 from the walk this year, almost double the fundraising goal of $80,000.

“We had 413 walkers this year, a huge jump from previous years,” said Martha Berry, finance and administrative manger for Inn From the Cold.

“Martha kept saying, we won’t have enough food, the room isn’t big enough,” chimed in Ann Watson, Inn From the Cold’s executive director. “I said, don’t worry, they won’t all show up…and they all showed up,” finished Watson. “At one point, we had a line up to get in the room, there were so many of them. We have never had those numbers before,” Berry said.

She added that some walkers were even registering and donating after the walk had been completed.


Business sponsorships were up from previous years, as well. “We had several new businesses approach us and want to sponsor at a high level, which was so nice,” said Berry. “Our goal for sponsorships has always been $15,000, and we usually wouldn’t hit that, but this year we hit $21,000 in sponsorships,” added Watson.

The funds raised will make a huge difference to Inn From the Cold. The money will allow the facility to take care of any deficits that might arise due to the high and rising costs of food, utilities, cleaning supplies and more, according to Watson.

“It really takes the pressure off the high cost of everything right now, for us. This incredible amount of money also gives us flexibility to pilot some new programming, to try something new out, without the constraints and parameters usually associated with funding,” Watson added. “That way, if it works out, we can apply for funding with a proven track record and program metrics, which really helps us in obtaining funding,” she said.


The warm feelings generated from the successful evening’s walk will be felt for a long time to come. “It’s an evening that brings everyone together: local businesses, staff, clients past and present, members of the community. It’s an inclusive event, where everyone is on a level playing field and united in a common cause,” said Watson.

“It was such a moving thing, to see that huge mass of people, all wearing the same hats, all there for the same reason: to feel like part of the solution, to do something to help. It was a beautiful event,” said Berry.

“The event was such a success because of everyone, and that’s what made it so special,” said Watson. “Newmarket is such a community-focused place, and when we present a challenge, the people rise to it. They really blew the lid off it this year and we are so grateful.”

For more information about Inn From the Cold and what you can do to help, go to their website or visit them on Facebook.