COLDEST NIGHT OF THE YEAR BARRIE
Nearly 200 participants and 40 teams helped raise a record $59,402 during the Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) virtual walk, which was held on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021 in Barrie.
Funds from the event are used to provide programming and services to youth who are experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of becoming homeless.
“Imagine in a time when we are in the midst of a pandemic that so many individuals and organizations chose to be the difference in the lives of our young people,” said Lucy Gowers, Youth Haven executive director. “It is a testament to the generosity of the communities in which Youth Haven is located.”
This past year has been like no other at Youth Haven. Shelter staff and youth were relocated from the Barrie shelter in late March 2020 and moved to a hotel for their health and safety, while outreach staff have found ways to continue to connect and maintain programs with their at-risk clients.
“Youth Haven also took possession of a home in Barrie last year, thanks to the generosity of the County of Simcoe, where we house our transitional youth who no longer need emergency care, but continue to receive programs and services.” said Gowers.
This year’s walk was self-organized. In other words, participants mapped out their two- to five-kilometre safe route and could gather with their COVID-safe bubble, or walk on their own. People can continue to donate or organize a walk until the end of February.
One in three people using shelter services in Simcoe County are youth. In 2020, Youth Haven provided assistance to over 400 young people.
“It’s an alarming number,” said Gowers. “But at the same time, the number of participants and the amount of money raised during CNOY shows people believe in the work Youth Haven does.”
Youth Haven operates a shelter and a transitional home in Barrie, and provides outreach services in Barrie, Orillia, Midland, southern Georgian Bay, Innisfil, Bradford and the Alliston-area.