The Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) will be held on Feb. 22 and will ask participants to walk through downtown Pembroke on a two or five kilometre route. The fundraising walk will be giving back to The Grind Pembroke to help the community’s most vulnerable citizens. Members of the organizing team got together to announce the CNOY event and encourage people to sign up. In the back, from left are Pembroke Mayor Mike LeMay, Deacon Adrien Chaput, Reverend John Vaudry and Connie Poupore with Algonquin College. In the front are Carolyn Henderson, David Studham and the Grind’s Executive Director Jerry Novack. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser for The Grind scheduled for February 22

By Patricia Lebouf

Posted on Thursday January 23, 2020

To raise money and awareness of the realities of homelessness, the community is invited to take part in the annual Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) fundraising walk through downtown Pembroke.

Regardless of how cold it will be, walkers will show a unified front on Feb. 22 by traversing two or five kilometres on snowy streets with the goal of raising $35,000. The funds will support The Grind Pembroke, which serves marginalized, low-to no-income community members in Renfrew County through various programs and services.

With the recipients in mind, the date was chosen to offer a deeper impact on the participants.

“One of the reasons why we do this in February is to give participants an idea of what a homeless person might go through on a February night in the Ottawa Valley,” said Dave Henderson, one of the organizers.
The Grind has been a vital service in the community since its doors opened to provide judgment-free services to those in need.

This year’s funds will be earmarked for The Grind’s new facility, which will be home to a food kitchen and will be located at the City of Pembroke’s old fire hall.

Money from the event will also go towards its transitional house, which is located on Murray Street. Once it officially opens, this temporary home will give homeless clients the chance to work on a life-stabilizing plan without worrying about where they will sleep at night.

The three-bedroom house was donated to The Grind, and is currently in its final stages of renovations. It should be ready in early 2020.

“We are really excited about the transition house because it is really needed in our community,” said The Grind’s Executive Director Jerry Novack.

By participating in the CNOY, people will be helping The Grind meet its financial goals.

“It is so nice to see us rallying together and supporting each other with that love,” said Deacon Adrien Chaput.

Pembroke Mayor Mike LeMay knows this community is a generous one.

“I know how important the Coldest Night of the Year is for The Grind because you depend upon not only volunteers but, from a financial point of view, you are dependent on our community,” said Pembroke Mayor LeMay.

He acknowledges that the need in the community is high.

Since the Pembroke Salvation Army closed their doors in March, The Grind has been providing a soup kitchen of their own. But their current building isn’t quite right to meet the demand and they’ve been relying on the generosity of restaurants, churches and organizations to donate fully cooked food that is delivered to The Grind. According to their website, between April and September 2019, they’ve served 4,807 lunches. They also served dinner to 1,747 people between January 2018 and September 2019.

The new facility will allow them to have a licensed kitchen and install appropriate commercial equipment in a well-designed space.

For more information or to sign up to walk, please visit