The Strathmore Overnight Shelter is tweaking its yearly March for Cold fundraising event by providing both virtual and in-person events to raise operating funds.
Through this event, the organization usually raises between $5,000 and $10,000, about 10 per cent of its yearly operating budget, explained Carrilyn Fisk, a member of the shelter’s board of directors.
But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization is taking a different approach this year.
A virtual event is being held the week of March 13 to 20, in which participants step up to walk or run two to five kilometres wherever they want that week. To raise funds, participants can donate or garner pledges for them braving the cold, explained Fisk.
Donation forms are available through the shelter’s Facebook page. Once complete, these forms can be emailed to email@example.com or mailed to the Harvest Healing Church.
Participants are being encouraged to post photos of their activities to social media, using the hashtag #strathmorecoldmarch. They can also be emailed to Carrilyn_f@hotmail.com, to be posted to the shelter’s Facebook or Instagram pages.
But for anyone still wanting to participate in person, the shelter is also holding the March for Cold at Kinsmen Park at 5 p.m. on March 20. But due to COVID-19, there will be no opening ceremonies and the registration and start will be staggered for participants.
The registration and waiver are also available on the shelter’s Facebook page or its website, strathmoreovernightshelter.com/march-for-cold/. Once they are received, each participant will be given a start time for their walk. The registration table and start point will be in the parking lot of the new Strathmore town hall.
All proceeds will go to the Strathmore Overnight Shelter, which was stretched thin this year, with many businesses and facilities closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. During some of the colder winter days, the shelter started opening 24-hours per day, requiring extra staff and increasing costs.
Holding the event to help meet some of these costs is essential to the shelter, said Elizabeth Karp, the shelter’s director.
“It’s one of our bigger fundraisers that we have throughout the year, helping us to pay our utilities and bills, and cover all the needs we have in the shelter.”
Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times