About 300 people will be walking down Concession Street around 5:15 p.m. on Feb. 22.
They’ll be partaking in the seventh annual Coldest Night of the Year walk for Neighbour to Neighbour Centre.
“The walk is one of our largest fundraisers,” said Robyn Knickle, director of development at Neighbour to Neighbour Centre. “Without the income from the walk, we couldn’t serve the many thousands of people we do.”
Knickle said they hope to raise $100,000 this year, which will help sustain a variety of community services they provide: the busy food bank at the Athens Street Centre that serves about 1,200 families per month, student reading and math tutoring programs, settlement services for new residents, the Christmas program and services at the Hamilton Community Food Centre.
Last year the walk raised $85,000, and while she agrees this year’s target is ambitious, Knickle said it is also doable. She noted they already signed up 37 teams (seven more than last year), and many of those teams also hold their own fundraisers in addition to walking.
Among the participants will be eight teams from Turkstra Lumber who is hoping to raise $20,000 for Coldest Night.
Mitch MacLelan is heading up the Turkstra squads.
He noted this is the third year they have taken part.
“For Turkstra, there’s pretty much two boxes we like for charities to check off,” he said. “Feeds people who are hungry and helps kids, and Neighbour to Neighbour of course checks off both of those.”
Participants have the choice of 2-, 5- or 10-km walks.
As in past years, the walk begins at St. Stephen-on-the-Mount Anglican Church (625 Concession near Viewpoint Avenue), then heads west on Concession to Belwood Avenue, and east along Mountain Park Avenue.
The 2-km route turns up Poplar and returns along Concession Street to the church, while the 5-km and 10-km routes loop around Mountain Drive Park before heading back to the church.
Walkers once again will be treated to macaroni and cheese when they get back to the church.
“Come for the charity, stay for the mac and cheese,” Knickle said.
Participants can register in advance online via cnoy.org (click on the Hamilton Mountain walk) or a table of volunteers will be at the church to sign-up walkers on the day of the event starting at 4 p.m.