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Coldest Night of the Year

Winter in Ottawa. There are those that love it. Others dread the cold, snow, slush, sleet, and freezing rain. I am not a lover of winter. The days are most often dark and unpleasant, and walking and driving are treacherous on many occasions.

There are also many who look forward to February which for them represents love and includes Valentines Day. For myself, February brings the coldest night of our year. Yet, as I say this I am in an insulated, heated building, wearing warm clothes, and well fed. I mention this because perspective can change our thought process and in turn our response to the situation such as weather.

For our street friends, at Ottawa Innercity Ministries, winter in Ottawa brings further isolation, anxiety over staying warm and having a place to sleep that is heated or sheltered from the weather. It also brings worry over food, warm clothing and to put it simply, survival.

In light of this perspective, my winter is glorious and easy, filled with warmth, love and companionship. That is why in winter I take time to stop, and think about how fortunate I am compared to our city’s most vulnerable people.

In addition, this perspective motivates me to want to do as much as I can to help our friends survive the winter. That is why I am excited to be leading OIM’s first ever Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) event located in Nepean.

On Saturday February 25, 2023, I will be participating along with dozens of others to walk and raise funds to help our street friends survive this cold and lonely winter. The funds raised go directly to fill the carts of Ottawa Innercity Ministries Street Outreach volunteer teams. The food, warm clothing and personal items are essential to help these most vulnerable adults, veterans, and youth survive each and every day.

The funds raised will support people like Joe, who lives near the Somerset Street overpass. Recently he came to our Door Outreach where he ate 3 bowls of soup and received a food hamper. In addition, OIM’s volunteers gave him companionship, and care without judgement. As well as the practical support, volunteers were able to help Joe apply for shelter so he can get off the street and survive this cold and long winter.

Do you have passion to make a difference in people’s lives but are unsure how to help? Do you want to get a different perspective on the cold winter days of our city? I encourage you to sign up for OIM’s CNOY event here. For more information about CNOY you can find it here.

I am confident your participation will not only change your perspective on our city this winter but will fill your heart with warmth and light.

~Cam – Manager, Community Engagement

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