Langleyites prepare to brave a cold to help homeless and hungry

Gateway of Hope signing up individuals and teams for the 2018 Coldest Night of the Year on Feb. 24.

Emmy Skates is inviting local residents to “accomplish something remarkable by doing something ordinary.”

She’s challenging Langley residents to simply walk.

In fact, she’s hoping businesses, schools, and organizations in town will challenge others to take a stroll with the Salvation Army’s Gateway of Hope during its upcoming Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) fundraising walk being held Saturday, Feb. 24.

This is a family-friendly winter fundraising event for “Langley’s homeless, hungry and hurting,” explained Skates, the executive director for Gateway.

By walking together in the chill of the night, participants will better understand the experience of being on the streets during a cold Canadian winter, she elaborated. And at the same time, they’re raising money and awareness for the cause.

While heavy rains during last year’s walk kept attendance below 200, Skates is optimistic they can break attendance records this year. She’s shooting for in excess of 300 walkers and 25 teams to participate in the evening event.

This is Gateway of Hope’s fifth year taking part in the Coldest Night of the Year, and they’re aiming to raise $25,000 for their work with the homeless in Langley (including Aldergrove).

The local walk begins and ends at the Gateway of Hope, 5787 Langley Bypass, where walkers will register and turn in the results of their fundraising efforts and return at the end of the evening for a warm celebratory meal. Registration begins at 4 p.m., with the walk beginning just after 5.

Donning iconic CNOY toques, participants will walk a 2-km, 5-km or 10-km route, and will be able to warm up with toasty drinks at rest stops along the way, said Skates. This will be her second year taking part in the local walk.

Most participants, in past, have participated in the 5-km walk, although families with younger children tend to gravitate to the shorter trek, said event director Shirley Stewart, who has taken part in three of the past four years.

Langley walkers will be raising funds to aid the work of the Gateway of Hope emergency shelter and meal centre as they provide much-needed support to members of our community. They’re joining thousands of participants in a hundred-plus cities across Canada who will be taking part in the CNOY.

For those just wishing to participate in the walk, but not fundraise, there is a $25 registration fee. For adults who collect $150 or more in pledges, the registration fee is waved. Likewise, youth (ages 11 to 17) only have to raise $75 to have the fee waved. Children 10 years and younger walk for free. Note, that the registration fee goes up to $40 each as of Feb. 19.

People interested in walking individually or as part of a team can register online at cnoy.org/location/Langley, or alternatively contact Stewart at shirleys@gatewayofhope.ca or at 604-514-7375.

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