Victoria may not get the same bitter cold weather as cities in the east, but our winter months can still be a harsh time of year for some residents.
That’s why the Mustard Seed Street Church is once again raising awareness and funds to support those who battle to heat their homes and feed themselves or their families.
The Mustard Seed will join thousands of Canadians across the country in the Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser walk Feb. 23. This event has a two-pronged goal: to give you real-time experience walking city streets in the chill of winter, and to raise $30,000 to help residents who use the food bank, now known as The Market at 625 Queens Ave.
“No one should have to choose between eating and heating,” says Desiree Neufeld, Mustard Seed events and sponsorship co-ordinator.
Pick your distance and hit the road
Participants can choose to do a two-, five- or 10 kilometre route, all of which start and end at the Mustard Seed and include scenic parts of our downtown. The walk is open to all ages and Neufeld encourages you to gather work colleagues, friends, family members and others to take part in the evening.
Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps will officially start the walk, while local radio personalities will provide music and UVic Vikes athletes will lead the warmup at the launch party.
Here’s five ways you can help the Mustard Seed:
- Register yourself or your gang Sign up to fundraise as an individual or as part of a team, or simply pay the $25 registration fee. Why not come up with a fun idea to raise more cash? One team created a $5 coffee challenge, encouraging people to donate $5 each time they bought a fancy coffee.
- Sign on as a volunteer If you’d like to donate your time for the walk there’s various ways, from route marshalling or registration to being on the welcome team.
- Customize your donations Like the Coldest Night idea but simply want to make a donation? Your one-time or monthly cash donations (try it online!) give the food bank strong buying power with local suppliers.
- Become a regular If Feb. 23 doesn’t work, but you’d still like to help, the Mustard Seed is always looking for new volunteers.
- Organize a food drive Food banks get a lot of donations around Christmastime, but not so much at other times of year. Design your own food drive and help stock the shelves!
The Coldest Night event always tends to increase people’s empathy for those suffering in the cold, Neufeld says. “It’s amazing to see friends and neighbours come together to walk in solidarity.”