The Coldest Night of the Year hopes to raise $50,000 to help combat homelessness in Renfrew County. Drumming up some attention to the upcoming event at the Petawawa Royal Canadian Legion are (left to right) David Studham, Renfrew County Steering Committee for CNOY Pembroke Chair; Jerry Novack, Executive Director of The Grind Pembroke; Derrick Nearing, Steering Committee for CNOY Pembroke; Michael St. Jean, Steering Committee for CNOY Pembroke; Chris St. Jean, Steering Committee for CNOY Pembroke; Marc Poirier, General Manager, MYFM, Event Media Sponsor; Nicole Dennison with Family and Children Services of Renfrew County (FCSRC); Steve West with FCSRC; Arijana Haramincic, Executive Director of FCSRC and Alison Jones with FCSRC. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)


Coldest Night of the Year walk Feb. 24

By Patricia Leboeuf

Posted on Thursday February 1, 2018


The Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) Pembroke fundraising event is back to support initiatives that help combat homelessness in Renfrew County.

This event will be held on Feb. 24 with the goal of raising $50,000 to support those who are hungry, homeless and hurting through a partnership between Family and Children’s Services of Renfrew County (FCSRC)’s Safe Shelter for Youth and The Grind Pembroke Emergency Refuge for Adults.

“We are all working very hard to provide appropriate services to those in the community that are not as fortunate as we are, specifically in terms of lack of shelter,” said Dave Studham, CNOY Pembroke Steering Committee Chair.

Making a 2-km, 5-km or 10-km trek from the Pembroke Armoury, participants will feel a hint of the challenge faced by those experiencing homelessness during winter.

It often surprises people that there is a homelessness problem in Renfrew County because it doesn’t present as it does in big cities with people literally sleeping on the streets. Yet it does exist. “There are individuals in our rural communities for whatever reasons find themselves without shelter,” said Studham.

Keeping people off the streets isn’t just about giving them shelter; it’s also about addressing the root cause of their situation. Developing a plan to break away from homelessness, and removing barriers to ensure a positive future is the goal of programs like Safe Shelter for Youth and The Grind Pembroke. “We can give them a warm bed for the night, but if we don’t have the services to break that cycle, they are going to be back tomorrow,” said Arijana Haramincic, Executive Director of FCSRC.

It takes a community effort to bring the social services programs and initiatives to those who need them. Events like CNOY help raise much needed funds. In its first year of operation, The Grind’s Shelter had already welcomed 80 adults and provided 171 nights of refuge. “It was a very busy year and for us who don’t receive government funding, an event like Coldest Night of the Year is important to the operation of the shelter and the homeless community,” said Jerry Novack, Executive Director of The Grind Pembroke.

His organization doesn’t just provide a warm, safe place to stay; it also helps link those in need to the programs that are available. “We needed more than just a smile and a listening ear to help those that walk through the door,” said Studham. “Nothing is perfect but we are seeing some positive results,” he added. “People are getting to the right doors.”

CNOY Pembroke is on Feb. 24. Registration begins at 4 p.m. and the walk starts at 5:15 p.m. The 2-km, 5-km and 10-km all start and end at the Pembroke Armoury with routes closing by 8 p.m. All walkers and volunteers will be served a warm meal after the walk. Participants also receive a special toque to wear.

CNOY Pembroke joins more than 125 cities across Canada who are all walking to fight homelessness.
For more information or to register for the walk, please visit cnoy.org/Pembroke.