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Coldest Night of the Year Walk met with great response, local homeless shelter benefits

February 27, 2020   ·   0 Comments

By Wendy Gabrek

New Tecumseth’s inaugural Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser and walk took place in Alliston on Saturday, February 22.

The Walk, benefitting Alliston Out of the Cold, the local homeless shelter in Alliston, was a huge success, raising 87 per cent of the $65,000 target to date, a confirmed $56,532, for the program that supports those in the community facing shelter and food insecurities.

“We had a lot of unregistered funds come in on the day of, and believe that to total at least $2,000 or more,” Jenifer Pergentile, Executive Director, Alliston Out of the Cold (AOTC) told The Times. “Online donations via credit card or PayPal are still being accepted until March 31. People can still contribute that way, and help us to reach our fundraising goal. Alternatively, we are always accepting donations directly to AOTC – contact us for details or visit the website for more about that.”

The event, not a race, was held at Banting Memorial High School in the gymnasium, and attracted 185 pre-registered walkers – including several whole family groups and even professional associations, including members of the Nottawasaga OPP who joined as the “NottyOPP.”

“We cannot confirm, but believe that there may have been over 200 in attendance, as there were many walk-in registrations,” said Pergentile. “We had 31 registered teams and 67 registered volunteers not including our planning and event team of 10.”

Pergentile told The Times she was, “blown away by how well the event went”.

“It being our first year, we had no idea what to expect.  From the set-up to tear-down and all the important roles in between we had incredible volunteers that helped pull off every aspect of the night,” she said. “We wouldn’t have done it without them! Our dedicated walkers helped to spread the word about our services and many conversations were started by people stopping to ask ‘what’s this all about?’”

Pergentile says she was particularly impressed with how well teams organized themselves.

“We had 11 teams raise over $1,000 each, and eight single participants [raised] over $1,000 on their own!” she confirms.

Participants walked 2km, 5km and 10km during what turned out to be a rather mild day, in spite of the name of the event. 

“Walking at dusk in colder temperatures provides a glimpse of what the people who use our services experience daily throughout the winter,” said Pergentile. “A huge thank you to all of our sponsors, but in particular to Baxter, our Host Sponsor for the event, who not only contributed as the Host Sponsor ($5,000), but also provided a handful of volunteers for the event, and brought together a team of employees who collectively fund raised over $4000 and walked the event route!”

With the success of the first event, a second Walk is already in planning stages for next year.

“Save the date – we walk again February, 20, 2021,” said Pergentile. “Keep an eye out for details regarding #CNOY21 – the 2021 CNOY web page will launch in early December 2020, so stay tuned.”

The AOTC planning and event team will be gathering early in the fall to commence preparations for the 2020 CNOY event.  

“Anyone interested in joining our planning and event team, can get in touch with us by emailing the AOTC Fundraising Director at,” said Pergentile.

“We are honoured and humbled by the community’s support. We are proud of the event that we put together and are hopeful that we are raising enough awareness for a real issue in our community,” said Tina Molenaar, AOTC Fundraising Director.

“Raising awareness in such a public way helps to start the conversation on how we, as a community, can come together to address the needs of those among us that are experiencing homelessness and food insecurity. CNOY participants across Canada got a glimpse, first-hand, of what those who are hurting, hungry and experiencing homelessness face on a daily basis in the frigid winter temperatures,” added Pergentile.

For more information about Alliston Out of the Cold, visit


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