Project Share’s Coldest Night of the Year event raises record sum

Meridan Credit Union held its Coldest Night of the Year event Meridan Credit Union held its Coldest Night of the Year event on Saturday. Supplied Photo

On Saturday, more than 150 people in Niagara Falls walked for the Meridan Credit Union Coldest Night of the Year event to support Project Share in ending the struggle against poverty and empowering people in need.

Coldest Night of the Year is one of Project Share’s largest fundraisers, and despite the restrictions and challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s walkers raised more than $50,000, more than in any other year.

Matt Cuthbert, executive director of the Niagara Furniture Bank and part of the Toolbox Niagara team, accepted a challenge from Marty Misener of Welland’s Open Arms Mission to spend 12 hours in the cold — to gain insight into what it might be like to be homeless.

Cuthbert was joined by community leaders, including Project Share executive director Pam Sharp and others, who sat with him at scheduled times throughout the day.

Sharp said bringing awareness to homelessness, hunger and hurt in the community has never been more critical.

“At Project Share we have seen 637 new families since the end of March, illustrating the significant impact the pandemic has had on individuals in our community,” said Sharp.

“We can’t thank those who sponsored, walked and donated enough for their dedication to supporting the work we do.

“Service agencies working together to support the amazing work being done in our communities is a wonderful opportunity to raise awareness and support those who are struggling to meet their basic needs,” she added.

This year, Coldest Night of the Year events took place in 149 locations across Canada and were supported by more than 24,000 walkers to raise $8,627,750.

Sean Vanderklis is a Niagara-based reporter for the Niagara Falls Review. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him via email: [email protected]