• John Jantak

Participants gear up for annual Coldest Night of the Year walk to support On Rock food bank


PHOTO BYJOHN JANTAK

Kim Reid, President and Founder of On Rock Community Services, is hoping at least 100 walkers will participate in its 3rd annual Coldest Night of the Year walk fundraising event this Saturday, February 21, to help raise much needed funds for its food bank

An unusually harsh winter won’t keep a dedicated group of participants from taking part in the third annual Coldest Night of the Year fundraising walk to help raise money for the On Rock Community Services food bank this Saturday afternoon, February 21, in Pierrefonds-Roxboro.

In the two years since the first walk was held, requests for assistance throughout the West Island has steadily grown as more people slip into poverty. Kim Reid, Founder and President of On Rock, said the number of people regularly using the organization’s food bank services has increased from 160 in 2013 to 200 people currently.

“We help 200 families a week with food baskets,” Reid told Your Local Journal. “Our community diner serves 35 to 40 people on the two nights we’re open each week and we’ve just started an elementary school lunch program for kids who go to school with no lunch. We’re making 220 lunches a week for 44 kids across four schools in the French sector.”

Demand for food baskets continues to outstrip On Rock’s supply capacity to the point where the industrial sized fridge/freezer combo that On Rock acquired almost two years ago through donations raised at the time is now always filled to capacity.

“We always manage to fill it and if we had the money, we’d expand it because we don’t have enough room,” said Reid. This increased demand means that about 25 to 30 families are currently on a waiting list, Reid said. “We already serve 200 families and can’t take on anymore until we get enough food supplies to take care of them.”

“We refer them to other resources and food banks until we can take them on,” Reid added. “We have their name and number so when someone drops off our list, we’ll call the next person and ask, ‘Are you still in a position where you need us because we have an open spot.’

Even with as much as we’re doing, there are still people in need.” Reid said he hopes at least 100 or more participants are able to take part in this year’s event which will feature both a five and 10-kilometer walk. He’s also optimistic that On Rock will be able to achieve its goal of $50,000 in donations.

“It’s really important,” said Reid. “Last year we raised $34,000. It’s a big chunk of change and if we didn’t raise it, we’d be in a hole. It’s the one event that brings in the most donations.”

Registration will begin at On Rock’s community headquarters at 9554 Gouin Blvd West in Pierrefonds-Roxboro behind Plaza Pierrefonds. The Coldest Night of the Year is a Canada-wide event that raises

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