Fundraising walk to help homeless youth Feb. 24

Posted on: February 8, 2018

Chris Must

A first-time fundraising event to help homeless youth in Lanark County has already attracted some high-level support.

Three mayors – John Fenik of Perth, Louis Antonakos of Carleton Place and Shawn Pankow of Smiths Falls – have already signed up to participate in The Coldest Night of the Year, a fundraising walk taking place in Smiths Falls on the night of Feb. 24, 2018.

The event is being organized by Cornerstone Landing, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping homeless young people in the county aged 16 to 24. Similar walks will be held in 110 communities across the country on the same date.

February 24 is traditionally one of the coldest nights of the year, Cornerstone Landing board chair Terrilee Kelford told Smiths Falls town councillors at a meeting Dec. 11. The choice of date helps to bring home the plight of those forced to sleep outdoors in the dead of winter.

“But we’re not asking you to sleep outside,” Kelford assured members of council. “We’re asking you to walk.”

Although the exact route of the walk is still being determined, the schedule for the evening is in place. Registration will open at 4 p.m., followed by opening ceremonies at 5 p.m. Walkers, having chosen a 2km, 5km or 10 km route, depart at 5:15 p.m. A meal for walkers will be served at starting at 6 p.m.

Participation is free for children 10 and under. Youth aged 11-17 are asked to pay a $25 registration fee or raise a minimum of $75 in pledges. Adults 18 and over will pay $25 to walk or raise a minimum of $150. Registration will increase to $40 as of Monday, Feb. 19.

The fundraising goal for the walk is $20,000.  Kelford said proceeds “will go toward our partnership with Algonquin College to build safe, affordable housing for youth.”

Cornerstone Landing has been working with the college’s Perth campus on a plan for building trades students to construct small, affordable housing units for homeless youth in Lanark County.

To register, donate or get more information visit

This was first published in the January issue of Hometown News. Read the digital version off it and others.