From left, Serena Caner, president of Shuswap Food Action Society (SFAS); Melanie Bennett with SFAS; Jennifer Black, vice-president of finance with SASCU; Claire Askew with SFAS and Dave Wallace, operations manager with Askew’s, who are all promoting or sponsoring the Coldest Night of the Year event taking place on Feb. 20 in Salmon Arm. (Contributed)

From left, Serena Caner, president of Shuswap Food Action Society (SFAS); Melanie Bennett with SFAS; Jennifer Black, vice-president of finance with SASCU; Claire Askew with SFAS and Dave Wallace, operations manager with Askew’s, who are all promoting or sponsoring the Coldest Night of the Year event taking place on Feb. 20 in Salmon Arm. (Contributed)

Support, donations exceed expectations for Salmon Arm’s Coldest Night of the Year

Shuswap Food Action celebrating participants in upcoming event

The Shuswap Food Action Society continues to celebrate individuals and teams who have helped exceed the $40,000 goal set this year’s Coldest Night of the Year event in Salmon Arm.

As of Monday, Feb. 15, more than $42,500 had been raised locally for the annual fundraising event that revolves around a winter evening walk for charities that support people experiencing homelessness, hurt and hunger. More than 190 people, including those on 39 teams, were signed up to participate in the Salmon Arm walk on Feb. 20. This year, because of the pandemic, instead of walking in one large group, participants are to walk individually or in team bubbles at a time that’s convenient for them.

In the days leading up to the event, the Shuswap Food Action Society, through its Facebook page, has been sharing stories of community support and involvement. It has also been emphasizing the connection of homelessness to challenges around access to food.

“We cannot control all the costs of living, and we cannot control the price of housing and we can’t control people’s incomes, but we do have a lot of control about food, and we have capacity here in the Shuswap to grow far more of our own food to feed ourselves,” said the Society’s Melanie Bennett.

Read more: Shuswap residents asked to support people struggling by joining Coldest Night of Year

Read more: Salmon Arm Coldest Night walk warms organizers’ hearts

With the shelves at stores being depleted early on in the the pandemic, Bennett explained how over the past year public awareness was raised around the fragility of the systems we depend upon.

“If the truck doesn’t come, it will affect all of us,” said Bennett.

Part of the Shuswap Food Action Society’s mandate is promoting food security through self-reliance and self-sufficiency, and food sovereignty (the right of individuals to healthy and culturally appropriate food and a right to define their own food and agriculture systems) through education and local community programs.

“We really want to encourage people to learn; we want to teach because giving away food and that kind of level of assistance is not a long-term solution,” said Bennett.

There is still time to donate and to sign up for the Feb. 20 Coldest Night of the Year event, both of which can be done at cnoy.org under Salmon Arm. For more information about the Shuswap Food Action Society, visit the group’s page on Facebook, or website at shuswapfood.ca.

@SalmonArm
lachlan@saobserver.net

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