The Helping Hands Society of Cochrane and Area is asking for people to come out for some fresh air and camaraderie while helping out the hurt, hungry and homeless at the third annual Coldest Night Of The Year fundraiser on Feb. 25.
Helping Hands executive director Laura McDonald is excited about the prospect of maybe surpassing their goals for the annual walk. The average walker usually raises about $50. Their cumulative target, which has been met each year to date, is $40,000.
Currently, they have 26 teams and 70 walkers registered, and are hoping to have 40 teams registered by the day of the event.
The walk kicks off from Riverfront Park, where teams and individuals can choose between participating in a full five-kilometre or a shorter two-kilometre walk.
McDonald said the lead sponsor since the walk began has been Two Pharmacy, but when The Eagle interviewed her last week, she had just received a request from Canlin Energy Corporation that they wanted to be a lead sponsor.
“When you get questions like that, you go to bed with a smile on your face, that’s how that works,” she said.
Canlin operates the Wildcat Hills Gas Plant, 15 kilometres west of Cochrane.
Having two corporate entities both wanting to be lead sponsor is a good ‘problem,’ to have.
“Oh, this is so exciting,” McDonald said, as she watched the website live during the interview and saw another team join the ranks of walkers already signed up.
She said the enthusiasm for charity she sees from Cochranites is inspiring, especially considering all the competing messages most people hear every day.
“I’m so happy. It’s a difficult time, breaking through the noise,” McDonald said.
“It’s hard to get people to pay attention, but I’m constantly gobsmacked by how the community we live in really cares about what Helping Hands is doing.”
They need more teams, more donations and a few more volunteers, McDonald said. And additional sponsors are always welcome.
Helping Hands volunteers assist low-income individuals and single parent families, seniors, chronically ill or injured, and newcomers with practical needs.
Clients are those who do not have a support network or financial resources to help themselves.
The non-profit prioritizes the needs of Cochrane, but shares resources with partnering organizations when the need arises.
There will be a ceremony before the walkers take off and snacks with warm fire pits in the park to return to.
Spray Lake Sawmills is a supporting corporate sponsor. Garmin Canada has donated a high-tech prize for the highest individual fundraiser, and Guy’s Café and Bakery is providing its chili.
As a special thank you to participants who raise at least $150 (or $75 for kids), walkers receive a limited-edition toque.
Helping Hands’ motto is ‘linking people who help with people who need help.'
To register, donate, or for more information go to cnoy.org/location/cochrane.