Coldest Night will still shine bright
Not even a pandemic can stop the Coldest Night of the Year event from taking place in 2021, and organizers in Huntsville are busy making plans.
Set to occur on Feb. 20, the “virtual” event is a COVID-safe, family-friendly 2 km or 5 km walk to raise essential funds for charities serving people experiencing homelessness, hurt, and hunger.
Huntsville’s Coldest Night of the Year event director is Heather Cassie, who is also the president of The Table Soup Kitchen Foundation. She says their goal is to raise $45,000 locally to help the Table continue its good work.
Cassie gives credit to Blue Sea Foundation, the Coldest Night of the Year mother organization, for making the event possible during the pandemic – as well as providing people the opportunity for contactless donations through both credit cards and PayPal.
“We’re grateful we’re still able to do this event despite everything going on in the world,” says Cassie. “Many events have been cancelled this year and had to push pause in the middle of organizing.”
Even those who haven’t yet sign up can still get involved. Just make sure to register before February 20 to get the fundraising started. Obviously, face-to-face pledges can’t happen, but registrants can send out emails, social media messages, phone calls and texts to garner support.
Another beneficial item for fundraising participants is they can still fundraise the month after the official Coldest Night of the Year has occurred.
“The nice thing is people can fundraise right up until the end of March,” explains Cassie. “And there isn’t a registration fee any longer, so it does open up opportunities for a larger part of the community to join in the walk.”
This is especially helpful to potential donors who may not get to donating in a timely; they’ll be glad to still have an opportunity to lend their support.
Cassie mentions that despite this being a “virtual event,” those who are walking are still engaging in physical activity; it’s a much-needed exercise for many during these COVID times, and the best part is they’ll be helping raise essential funds for The Table Soup Kitchen Foundation.
This is the Table’s ninth year fundraising with Coldest Night of the Year. While many long-time supporters will miss the gathering part of the event, the most important aspect – the fundraising – can still be done in earnest.
While there won’t be a ceremony, participants will still be able to do a drive by pick-up of appreciation gift bags from the organizers.
Also, participants raising a modest minimum ($150 for adults 18 and over, $75 for youth 17 and under) will receive a Coldest Night of the Year Toque. Toques can be picked up curbside at our Foundation office (9 Hanes St.) on Thursday, February 18, between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
“Even though we’re not gathering, the people raising funds are still getting outside and being active,” says Cassie. “Some people are connecting with family or friends from far away and saying let’s walk together while we talk on our phones or have a video chat. It’s a great way to experience the moment together.”
If someone is thinking about getting involved, but isn’t quite sure, here are a few simple questions to find out: Can you move? Do you have a beating heart? Do you look good in a toque?
If the answer is yes to the first two questions, then get registered and start securing pledges.
Register to start fundraising yourself or give a donation to someone else at https://cnoy.org/location/huntsville
By Chris Occhiuzzi, for HuntersBayRadio.com