Mustard Seed walks to fight poverty

The Coldest Night of the Year walk-a-thin takes place on Feb. 21 downtown Victoria.

Breaking the cycle of poverty by getting to the root of the issues that many people in the community face is the goal of an upcoming walk-a-thon.

The Mustard Seed, a local non-profit organization, is organizing the Coldest Night of the Year community walk-a-thon on Feb. 21 to raise money and awareness for programs that deal with the cause of poverty.

One of the Mustard Seed’s more well-known programs is the emergency food bank, but Colin Tessier, executive director, says that is not their main focus.

“Our purpose is to impact people’s lives and break the cycle of poverty that exists in their lives,” he said.

An example of one of these transformative programs at the Mustard Seed, it the family centre that helps people build self-esteem and self-confidence.

“It offers practical support in employment training and skills training to help people to move forward in sustainable ways so there’s not a reliance on services like a food bank,” said Tessier.

The Mustard Seed also runs the Hope Farm Healing Centre, which helps men recover from addiction.

Money raised from the Coldest Night of the Year walk-a-thon goes toward all of the programs offered at the Mustard Seed.

Registration takes place between 3 and 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 21 at the lower Inner Harbour causeway in front of the “Welcome to Victoria” plant sign.

Registration is $25, and walkers are encouraged to build a team and raise pledges. Walkers who raise $150 (adults) or $75 (youth aged 13-17) will have the $25 registration fee waived.

The opening ceremony starts at 4 p.m., and the 2.5 km walk goes up Government Street to Johnson Street, down Douglas and Humboldt streets, finishing at the Bay Centre. A 5 km route is also available.

At 5:30 p.m.in the Bay Centre, there will be refreshments and speakers discussing issues surrounding poverty. Anyone is welcome to come to the event at the Bay Centre, where donations will also be collected.

For more information, go online to coldestnightoftheyear.org/victoria.