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I have been asked, this coming Saturday, to offer a few remarks of appreciation to our volunteers and all those who have signed up to walk either 2 km or 5 km at our Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) send-off.

To say I became excited is an understatement when I came to understand that Ottawa Innercity Ministries might actually have sufficient resources to take on this national annual event. What could be more perfect - the Coldest Night of the Year walk is aimed at raising awareness and funds to support people experiencing hurt, hunger and homelessness - and, amazingly, this goal matches perfectly to what OIM does and has done for more than 30 years. Every single night of the year with few exceptions, OIM's teams of steadfast and faithful volunteers arrive at our building, don their red vests, fill wagons and beverage coolers with food, beverages, toiletries and basic clothing and head off to meet up with, serve and connect in conversation with their hurting "friends". Even the length of the CNOY walk - between 2 and 5 kilometers - is a match for the OIM walks on the coldest, hottest, wettest, darkest nights of the year.

Some who have signed up to walk for us on Saturday are our own Outreach teams already seasoned by weather and distance. Others have just learned about OIM and are walking in support for the first time. I can't wait to hear their different stories.

Their stories will no doubt be extraordinary thanks in part to the support of many organizations and businesses that have so generously contributed items and/or experiences to make this night a success.

I am pre-empting Saturday evening's remarks a little by saying "thank you" to the staff, volunteers - both new and longstanding with OIM, the walkers, the donors who will or won't be walking, the businesses and the organizations whose hearts break for our community's most vulnerable.

In gratitude,

~Margo, Managing Director

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