It may have been the Coldest Night of the Year event, but there were plenty of warm hearts at New Life Mission on Saturday as hundreds of Kamloops residents pitched in for charitable programs.
The headcount and money tally for Saturday's second annual five- or 10-kilometre walk were still estimates at press time. Organizers figured more than 200 people participated to raise almost $25,000.
"It was down slightly from last year but everybody had a great time," said Stan Dueck, executive director for New Life Mission. "We're thrilled with the turnout and with the response from the walkers and the volunteers and the people who donated money to them."
The final tally is expected to fall short of the goal of $40,000. But organizers said the best part was the number of people who got involved with the mission's day-to-day operations by staying for a meal of turkey stew and chili after the walk.
"As important as the money raised, it's for the involvement of the community," said Ken Woodcock, New Life Mission director. "There's a nice awareness for our community that is actually in our house so to speak. So the money raised is incredible. But the participation is equally as valuable.
"A huge thanks to the community."
Who won the friendly rivalry between Kamloops and Kelowna's Gospel Mission, a fun way to spur participation, was still unknown at press time.
"At last look they pulled ahead of us on the dollar count slightly in the last couple of days but we were ahead on the number of walkers and the number of teams," said Dueck. "So we'll see where that lands."
The funds will be used to support New Life Mission programs such as two substance-abuse recovery houses, health care, counselling and hot lunches.
It also helps boost donations at a time of year when they're usually in a lull, said Dueck.
"This is a big part of getting us set up going into spring and summer."
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