© Guardian photo by Brian McInnis
Close to 300 people, many wearing distinctive yellow toques, walked through the streets of Charlottetown Saturday on the "coldest night of the year walk in aid of Harvest House and the fight against addictions.
It appears that Islanders participating in the Coldest Night of the Year walk will reach their goal of raising $40,000 for P.E.I.s hurting, hungry and homeless population.
More than 300 Islanders participated in the fundraiser walk for addiction recovery Saturday evening in Charlottetown.
Starting and ending at the Central Christian Church Hall on Kent Street, participants donned iconic yellow toques and chose whether to go on a 2 km, 5 km or 10 km walk through the city.
P.E.I. co-ordinator John Bennett said Sunday that approximately $38,000 had been raised in the province with money still coming in.
He said it looked like the group would probably reach its goal of $40,000.
"We had hoped for $40,000 but we never dreamt that really it would happen within a few weeks," said Bennett. "We're overwhelmed by the response of well-meaning Islanders that are concerned about those around them."
Funds raised in the province will go directly towards aiding the work of Harvest House P.E.I.
Bennett, who is also director of Harvest House P.E.I., said the organization’s objective is to reach out to individuals struggling with various addictions who want to break free from the lifestyle.
He said outreach program is now only able to help people on a daily basis.
The ultimate goal has been to offer a voluntary residential long-term recovery program, hopefully at both of the group’s Charlottetown and Summerside locations.
“It looks like it might be sooner rather than later,” said Bennett, adding that both locations are seven bed residences which are ready to be used. “All we need are staff.”
Bennett added that he wanted to thank the 2,000 Islanders who have helped the cause, either by running or pledging.
“We don’t typically receive government funding… we do depend on the public for support,” he said.
The walk was held in conjunction with more than 40 others across Canada on Saturday. The purpose was to offer a glimpse into what surviving on the streets during a cold Canadian winter would be like.
More than $1,357,000 has been raised for the cause nationally.