Cold walk spreads warmth

Emma Spoelder, a staff member at Youth Unlimed, holds up a poster for Simcoe's Coldest Night of the Year event. The event, taking place on Feb. 22, will raise funds for Youth Unlimted to help those in the community that are hungry, hurting, or homeless. Ashley Taylor/Delhi News Record

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What’s it like to be forced to stay outside on the coldest night of the year because you have nowhere else to go?

Those in the community that are homeless, hungry and hurting might be able to tell you.

This year Norfolk’s Youth Unlimited has partnered with Coldest Night of the Year, which is a fundraiser and walk that works with charities helping those in need within communities.

“People can do multiple things (to help),” said Dan Avey, satellite director of the Youth Unlimited Norfolk County location. “There are team captains out fundraising, other people are getting teams of walkers together, and people can donate by going on and looking for Simcoe.”

Youth Unlimited will receive 100 per cent of the funds raised from Simcoe’s event.

“We receive the funds which I’m using to run this place,” said Avey. “It’s one of those things we need to do.”

Youth Unlimited has worked with young people in the community since 1993. Twice a week the location is open for students to drop in for free lunches.

“We give them lunch, talk to them about life, help them with social skills, and help them make smart decisions,” said Avey. “We had a kid tell us we were the heroes of Friday, we asked why and he said, ‘Because of you I got to eat lunch today.’”

The goal of Simcoe’s event is to raise at least $20,000. Donations on the website total $315 as of January 9.

“I really want people to realize that we have these issues in Norfolk,” said Avey. “We have people that are homeless, hurting, and hungry. We need to speak out and start advocating for them.”

The Simcoe walk will take place at 4 p.m. on Feb 22. The group will be walking from near Holy Trinity Catholic High School to the Youth Unlimited space at 32 Union Street and back. Between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. a warm meal will be served to participants and volunteers.

Those looking to sign up or donate can visit the Coldest Night of the Year website at There are currently 20 walkers spread across nine teams for the event.

To participate youth from ages 11-17 can either fundraise $75 or pay a $25 registration fee. Adults must either fundraiser $150 or pay the $25 registration fee. Children 10 and under can participate free but are able to fundraise.