Virtual Coldest Night of the Year Raises $92K for the Homeless

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More than $92,000 has been raised in support of Windsor's Downtown Mission.

COVID-19 caused the ninth annual Coldest Night the Year Walk to go virtual and it's being declared a success after shattering a fundraising goal of $70,000.

Participants would usually pack the mission before embarking on a walk together, but people stayed within their households or embarked on a walk by themselves this year.

Spokesperson Rukshini Ponniah-Goulin says participation in the walk was down, but donations are way up.

"It's definitely the highest we've ever had here in Windsor-Essex and it's definitely higher than we expected to come from this event with all that's going on," she says. "We're so, so, thankful."

Ponniah-Goulin says the money is needed more than ever with the mission fighting an outbreak of COVID-19.

"I'm sure you've heard already about all that's going on with our temporary shelter at 850 Ouellette Ave.," she says. "So many community members are stepping up and helping out there too."

Ponniah-Goulin says everyone at the mission is touched by the support in such trying times.

"People who are hurting maybe gave a little bit less than they did before or the people who maybe aren't hurting and are doing okay are giving more because they wanted to help and make up that difference for people who maybe can't give as much," she says.

All proceeds from the walk go towards feeding the hungry and helping those experiencing homelessness.

More than $447,000 has been raised through the event since its inception.

The fundraiser's online portal will continue to receive donations until March 31.