Salvation Army short walkers for weekend fundraiser

Outside the Yellowknife Salvation Army. Trevor Thompson photo
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It’s no secret that in Yellowknife it gets pretty cold; it’s cold enough walking five feet from your front door to your car, let alone five kilometers.

That’s an experience an upcoming fundraiser is hoping to give people while raising money for the Salvation Army’s men’s emergency shelter this weekend.

The fourth annual Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser is calling for more participants after a drastically low amount of Yellowknifers registered compared to this time last year.

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“[The fundraiser] very much is a social awareness piece that this type of event is able to bring,” said Lt. Dusty Sauder, executive director of the Salvation Army in Yellowknife.

“It helps raise awareness, and it helps especially because the folks that use sheltering services throughout the city experience having to walk outside in very cold weather.

“It’s as much about the awareness factor of homelessness and seeing around town and not being able to hop into a warmed-up vehicle as much as it is about the fundraising.”

Takes place February 25

The fundraiser is part of a Canada-wide fundraiser for different shelter organizations.

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In Yellowknife, participants with the walk will start at the Salvation Army building Saturday afternoon.

At around 5:15 p.m., the group will walk from the building through Old Town, across School Draw Ave., past city hall before circling back to the Salvation Army for chili and soup.

Last year, $20,000 was raised towards renovating the Salvation Army’s soup kitchen and equipment. This year, they’re hoping to modify the entrance to their men’s shelter to make it accessible to those with mobility issues.

Sauder estimates the renovations will cost anywhere from $5,000 to $8,000. The remaining funds they raise will go towards buying a new washer and dryer for their community laundry services.

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Over $20K short of goal

Getting those might not become a reality, though. This year the Salvation Army has seen a decrease in participants for the fundraiser. Only 28 walkers are registered as of Monday. This time last year they had 43.

So far, they’ve only raised a little over $4,500 of their $25,000 goal.

Sauder doesn’t know why they have so few participants this year, but notes the national campaign seems to be in a downward spiral as well, only having reached 59 per cent of its over $2 million goal with less than a week to go.

Anyone interested in registering for the walk can visit Coldest Night of the Year’s website. Walkers can either join the Salvation Army’s fundraising team, or create one of their own.

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