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    David Studham, Chairman of CNOY Pembroke Steering Committee, thanked the crowd of about 185 walkers. They made it possible to raise approximately $40,000. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    The 2018 Coldest Night of the Year Pembroke walk started at the Pembroke Armoury on Feb. 24 at 5 p.m. Participants could walk two, five or 10 kms to help raise money for The Grind Pembroke and Renfrew County Safe Shelter for Youth. Many of the walkers carried signs to show their support and team name. (Photos by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)



Coldest Night of the Year, warmest hearts

By Patricia Lebeouf

Posted on Thursday March 8, 2018

Most people don’t associate Pembroke with homelessness, assuming that it is a problem that occurs elsewhere in the country. But those working directly with the homeless adults and teens, as well as those at risk, know better.

To help The Grind Pembroke Emergency Refuge for Adults and the Renfrew County Safe Shelter for Youth continue to offer life-saving services, hundreds gathered at the Pembroke Armoury for the Second Annual Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) Pembroke Fundraising Walk. These approximately 185 generous souls tackled two, five or 10 km distances to raise money for these worthy causes.

Though total numbers aren’t in yet, the Feb. 24 walk raised about $40,000 or 80 per cent of the $50,000 goal. David Studham, Chairman of CNOY Pembroke Steering Committee, confirmed organizers believe they will ultimately achieve this goal as more money continues to trickle in after the event.

“It’s been a tough year for fundraising in general within Renfrew County and elsewhere in the country,” said Studham. “But we are proud of Renfrew County.”

With the mild temperature and clear skies, it was a pleasant walk. A few extra last minute people joined in and others stopped their vehicles to give change to some of the volunteers manning the safety barricades.
Seeing such kindness warmed The Grind Executive Director Jerry Novack’s heart.

“I’m just so overwhelmed with the community support that we get to help homeless individuals,” he said. “We are looking forward to next year.”

out 100 volunteers were needed to get the event off the ground, as well as multiple sponsors. This included members of the 42nd Field Artillery Regiment (Lanark and Renfrew Scottish) RCA, the 638 Algonquin Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron, the Renfrew County Amateur Radio Club, the County of Renfrew Paramedic Service, St. John Ambulance, Tricia Robinson from Pembroke Fitness Centre, students and staff from Algonquin College Waterfront Campus and Fellowes High School, as well as many others.

They were invaluable to the success of the event and to improving the community as a whole. “Personally, I’m proud of every one of our residents and everybody in the Ottawa Valley,” said Pembroke Mayor Mike LeMay. “They always come through.”

Though the event was held in Pembroke and the two beneficiaries are headquartered in the same city, the funds raised to go to help people throughout the county. Both organizations will share equally in the money raised.

“Many of the folk who are coming through the doors of Safe Shelter for Youth and The Grind Pembroke really don’t know where to get help,” said Studham. “What we are trying to do is understand the reasons why the individual is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless and we try to find a solution matching them with social services throughout the county.”

In 2017, 80 adults spent time at The Grind’s emergency shelter, some from as far as Barry’s Bay and Arnprior.

Renfrew County Safe Shelter for Youth provides short-term support for youth in need of a safe bed where their immediate basic needs can be met. It is a partnership program between Family & Children’s Services of Renfrew County, Renfrew County United Way, The Phoenix Centre for Children and Families and Columbus House Pembroke.