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Inn From The Cold getting ready for Coldest Night of the Year

Local charity grateful for community support for annual fundraising walk

We are in the coldest month of the year…and one of the most important times of the year for Inn From The Cold in Newmarket.

Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) is coming up on February 25. It is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the local charity.

CNOY was started in 2011 as a nation-wide movement to raise money for non-profits and charities who provide help and support to those experiencing homelessness in their communities. Each year, on one day across Canada, participants gather pledges, leave the warmth of their homes, and go out into the cold to help those who are less fortunate.

Since 2011, CNOY participants have raised $57,000,000 across Canada in 166 communities, and Newmarket is one of them.

Ann Watson, Executive Director of Inn From The Cold, explained how the organization helps the homeless: “Inn From The Cold focuses on people who experience chronic homelessness. Many have experienced homelessness for years, struggling with low incomes, physical and mental health challenges and addictions. We provide programs and services that work with people from the first day we meet them all the way to getting them housed in long-term housing programs. It’s the long approach. However long it takes, we continue to work until they achieve success.”

Inn From The Cold couldn’t be more grateful for the community support, awareness, and monies raised each year during CNOY. And this year, it is needed more than ever.

“We are in the middle of winter, we’ve had numerous cold weather alerts, our shelter system is at capacity,” explained Watson. “This winter has been cold, and issues have been compounded by the pandemic. A lot of people who were just scraping by before are now in this system. Incomes haven’t increased, inflation has exploded, the cost of housing is too high. Once you’ve lost your housing, it’s impossible to get back in. These days, when people become homeless, getting them housed again is very challenging. All these things have exacerbated homelessness in York Region,” she concluded.

Every year, Newmarket residents and businesses have stepped up for CNOY and Inn From the Cold and it looks like this year, they are doing it again. Business sponsorships have exceeded the target goal of $15,000 that Inn From The Cold set, and currently the Newmarket walk for Inn From The Cold is in the number seven position on the official CNOY scoreboard, in terms of monies pledged so far, over $74,000 and climbing.

‘Our lead sponsor, Magna, is returning in that role,” said Watson. “And many of our suppliers and businesses we work with have turned it around and are sponsoring our walk, to help us. We really appreciate that,” she added.

Inn From The Cold has incredible regular volunteers, over 190 of them at last count, including former Mayor of Newmarket, Tom Taylor, who is turning 89 this year and still faithfully arrives each week to lend a hand.

“The community impact through our volunteers is why CNOY in Newmarket is such a success,’ emphasized Watson. “They reach out and are ambassadors for our organization, they live in the community and are passionate about Inn From The Cold and the coldest night event,” she concluded.

“It’s amazing to see the walkers, over 200 of them every year here, all leaving at the same time, and know that the same thing is happening at the same time all across Canada, to help the homeless,” said Watson. “That passion and that dedication are awe-inspiring.”

If you would like to be part of this nation-wide event and help the homeless in Newmarket, you can go here to find out more and register. 

Learn more about Inn from the Cold here.