Red Deerians will walk a few kilometres in the shoes of the hungry and homeless.
The Mustard Seed is hosting its second annual Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) walk fundraiser Feb. 24 to support men and women experiencing poverty.
It’s an extremely important event, said Byron Bradley, The Mustard Seed managing director for Central Alberta.
“It opens the curtains on what some people experience,” said Bradley. “Obviously going on a walk with route marshals is a very safe look into homelessness… (but) it’s a great conversation starter.”
Bradley said the event is a non-competitive, family-friendly walk.
There will be 120 sites across Canada participating in CNOY, which was founded in 2011.
“It’s cool to know people in 120 communities … will be walking together that day to raise some money and, more importantly, to raise awareness,” said Bradley.
Loaves and Fishes hosted the CNOY in Red Deer for a couple years prior to closing down in 2016. When The Mustard Seed moved in to replace the faith-based charity, it decided to keep the event going.
Last year was the first time The Mustard Seed hosted the event in Red Deer. About 100 walkers raised $20,000.
The Mustard Seed hopes this year’s event has 125 walkers raising $25,000.
The walk will start and finish at The Mustard Seed (6002 54 Ave.), with opening ceremonies beginning at 5 p.m.
Bradley said the route will be the same as last year because they received a lot of positive feedback.
“We set the path up intentionally to show people the route a lot of less fortunate folks have to walk every day regardless of temperature,” Bradley said.
Nearly 50 people have signed up for the walk so far.
“Most of the registrations come within the last month so this is kind of go-time for us. We have a lot of returning people from last year and we’re hoping to get some new people too,” said Bradley.
All profits from the walk will go into the community, including The Mustard Seed’s school lunch program, serving dinners and helping provide people in need with clothes and hygiene products.
The walk will end with a meal at The Mustard Seed.
For more information or to register for the walk, visit cnoy.org/reddeer.