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'Coldest Night' raises awareness

Raising awareness and raising money.

That's the idea behind the "Coldest Night of the Year." a 5km and 10km walk in support of the hungry, homeless and hurting.

Once again this year the 30K Club at Kelowna's Gospel Mission will be participating in the event along with 38 pother communities in Canada Saturday, February 23.

This year, Kelowna and Kamloops have challenged each other to see who can out walk the other.

In 2012, the first year each community participated in the 'Coldest Night of the Year', 115 Kelowna walkers raised more than $20,000 while 230 walkers in Kamloops managed to raise just shy of $35,000

"This is a friendly competition that benefits the very people both our organizations serve. The more walkers we get the more money we raise and the more help we can provide those in our towns who really need it," says 30K Club coordinator and walk organizer Jessica Samuels.

There is a $25 registration fee to participate in the walk, however, Samuels says that fee is waived if adult participants are able to raise more than $150 in pledges.

Registration forms are available at the Kelowna Gospel Mission and online.

The walk begins at 5:15 p.m. and Samuels says the route will be closed at 8:15.

She says the idea is for people to get a bit of an idea of what it's like to be out in the elements.

"It's meant to be a little uncormfortable in terms of temperature - your hands are cold and your feet are cold. When you come back we'll feed you chili and then people get to go home and get in their beds," says Samuels.

"That's the extent of their uncomfortableness."

Samuels says most people have the option to decide not to go outside if it's too cold or tpo get in their cars instead.

"Not everybody has that option not to be out in those cold temperatures," says Samuels.

"It's just a small example. It doesn't take into consideration all the other factors like ongoing poverty, mental health problems or problems with addiction."



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