Coldest Night of the Year is coming to Lacombe. The family friendly winter event is a popular event dedicated towards helping those experiencing hurt, hunger and homelessness. The five kilometer walk takes place throughout Canada.

The event in Lacombe will be hosted by Central Alberta Youth Unlimited/YFC in support of youth in the community, Yu-Turn Housing, and mental wellness. The organization has a lofty goal of reaching $60,000 in donations.

“I feel like this year will be the year that we kind of introduce it because we're hoping to have it as an annual event. Lots of big centres like Lethbridge, Red Deer, Edmonton, and Calgary run the Coldest Night of the Year for their shelters. We just feel like in Lacombe like we don't have a shelter but we do have our youth housing who often help homeless youth have a hand up,” said Penny Ure, Housing Director of Central Alberta Youth Unlimited.  

Ure says the money raised from the event will be going towards mental health supports for some their youth. When the community was more stagnant during the pandemic, not being able to go to school was tough on the mental health of several of their youth.

“The wellness piece is for training our staff to help with mental health because our mentors are actually volunteers in our housing. We want them well-trained. We also have youth workers and wellness workers and so it will be for education for them also for counseling for our youth. Some of the costs will also go to cover our general funding or housing,” said Ure.

The walk takes place in the evening and in the cold as a way to declare concern for people who have no home or for those who have been fled their home due to violence and abuse.

“Some of our youth really struggle and some of their stories are pretty deep and they've been resilient. I just think if we walked five kilometers and put ourselves in their shoes and had to see what they’ve encountered and how resilient they can be coming through some of their stories,” said Ure.

“The pandemic really we created some lonely youth in our in our programs. It definitely had a very big impact with them not being able to go to school and have community and that kind of thing. That's why we see that (mental health) as a definite focus,” she added.

The walk will take place on February 26, starting at 4:00 PM. You can register to walk in a group or opt to choose a virtual walk. Registering for the even is free of charge but those who fundraise over $150 or $70 for those under the age of 18 will receive a Coldest Night of the Year touque while supplies last. For more information and how to register click here. 

The organization continues to look for the support of more businesses sponsors.