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Burnaby comes together in the annual Coldest Night of the Year Winter walk to combat homelessness in B.C.

The annual event takes place on Feb. 24 and aims to unite community in support of the homeless and impoverished, with a fundraising target of $115,000
Last year's Coldest Night of the Year walk had over 300 walkers and raised an impressive $112,000, showcasing the community's dedication to supporting those in need. Photo via Burnaby Community Services

As the biting winds sweep through the Lower Mainland, the majority of us huddle indoors and refrain from venturing into the cold unless absolutely necessary. 

Now, pause for a moment and contemplate the stark reality faced by those with no shelter, compelled to endure freezing temperatures while living on the unforgiving streets.

In an earnest endeavor to alleviate the pervasive issue of homelessness in our community, Burnaby residents are called upon to not only brace themselves against the cold but to actively participate in the 8th annual Coldest Night of the Year walk.

Burnaby Community Services and The Society To End Homelessness In Burnaby are spearheading the 8th annual Coldest Night of the Year walk in Burnaby, scheduled for Feb. 24, 2024. 

This significant event stands out as a beacon of hope for those facing homelessness and extreme poverty in Burnaby, with a goal of raising $115,000 to provide crucial support for essential services and programs.

"It's neighbours helping neighbours. Everyone in Burnaby should participate because we are a community," Antonia Beck, CEO of Burnaby Neighbourhood House says.

This sentiment underscores the event's role in bringing together residents and businesses in a collective effort to make a tangible difference.

Last year's event was a testament to the community's commitment, raising an impressive $112,000 with over 300 walkers participating. The funds raised are vital, directly benefiting the individuals and families most in need. 

"The impact of this event extends beyond just one night; it's about sustaining vital support systems for our community's most vulnerable," Beck says. 

This year, the organizers hope to surpass last year's achievements, further strengthening the support network for those at risk.

Participants can join the cause in various ways: by forming teams, joining existing ones, or walking offsite. Businesses can enhance their community impact by becoming sponsors. 

"Participation in any form is crucial, whether it's walking with us, sponsoring, or donating," says Beck. 

The funds raised play a pivotal role in maintaining essential services such as housing outreach, medical care, and food provision. Beck shares inspiring stories of transformation, highlighting the life-changing effects of the support provided. 

"We've seen incredible turnarounds - from individuals finding warmth and a meal at our centers to those who've changed their life path thanks to the support they received,” Beck says.

Founded in 1971, Burnaby Community Services has been a cornerstone in providing resources and opportunities to those in need. Last year alone, the team supported over 130,000 individuals.

The Society to End Homelessness In Burnaby operates two weekly Outreach Resource Centres (ORC), and in the last year alone have served over 22,000 meals to individuals and families. “Our guests who attend the ORC’s rely on us to meet their essential needs. The hurt, the hungry and the homeless” said Carol-Ann Flanagan, the Executive Director of The Society.”

The Coldest Night of the Year is a community initiative that aims to break down cycles of poverty and isolation. Photo via Burnaby Community Services

The Coldest Night of the Year is more than a fundraising walk; it is a testament to the power of community action. As Burnaby residents come together for this event, they embody the spirit of care and engagement, demonstrating their commitment to breaking the cycles of poverty and isolation in Burnaby

In a display of this commitment, the youth who raise $75 or more and adults who raise $150 or more are rewarded with CNOY toques. Businesses or organizations that contribute significantly are acknowledged through various levels of recognition, further incentivizing participation.

The Coldest Night of the Year offers a moment for residents to actively engage in making a difference, creating ripples of positive change across the community. To learn more and sign up to participate today, visit

Burnaby Community Services and The Society to End Homelessness in Burnaby extends heartfelt gratitude to the following organizations for their leadership and support in hosting the Coldest Night of the Year event:

Lead sponsor: SPARC BC

Supporting sponsors: Royal Bank of Canada, BC Housing 

Rest stop sponsors: Anthem, Metropolis at Metrotown, Burnaby Firefighters L323, Home Depot, TD Bank Group

Route sponsor: Reliance Insurance Agencies Ltd

Community sponsor: Dignity Memorial, Vancity Credit Union, Grand Villa Casino

Goods and services: PriceSmart Foods Metrotown, Avalon Valley, Eddie Lam Music, Save-On-Foods HighGate Village, Save-On-Foods Willingdon, F.I.T. Academy, Burnaby North Vikings Marching Band, Starbucks