The New Life Mission is counting on growing support to make its Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser an even warmer show of community compassion.
The idea behind the walk is to give participants a sense of life on the street in the depths of Canadian winter as they raise funds through pledges to aid the mission's work with the "homeless, hungry and hurting."
"It was a really great fundraiser for us last year," said Stan Dueck, executive director. "Lots of people got on board from every part of the community."
Coldest Night walks are held by other organizations across the country on the same night, Feb. 23.
The Kamloops walk begins and ends at New Life Mission, 181 Victoria St. Walkers can register there, submit the results of their efforts and enjoy a warm meal after the five- or 10-km walk. They are given yellow tuques to wear and keep, presenting a visible symbol of community caring.
This year, the mission has set a target of $40,000 — which is $15,000 more than was raised last year — and hopes to attract 300 walkers and 20 teams. About 250 people took part last year.
Organizers hope to draw a bigger response this time by issuing early notice.
Dueck said the funds are essential for the mission to continue its variety of programs supporting people who are disadvantaged.
"The mission has just come through Christmas, which of course is our best season by far. This is the time of year we really start to scramble."
Funds will support a hot-lunch service, substance-abuse recovery, health care and counselling programs.
The mission employs 38 people. Dueck joined the staff five months ago.
"I have seen, first of all, how big of a job we do."
Registration can be done online at coldestnightoftheyear.org. Select Kamloops, agree to the waiver and choose Create a Team. Then pick the New Life Mission as your charity and start gathering pledges.