Coldest Night of the Year 2024 Recap

Date 28 Feb, 2024

This year’s Coldest Night of the Year was a massive, record-breaking success, and it’s all thanks to this wonderful community who came out to walk in the rain, fundraise, and donate to support the Downtown Eastside.

Thanks to the collective effort of everyone who participated, we raised a total of $112,725—and counting! That’s the most we’ve ever raised in all the years we’ve hosted CNOY! Thank you to the walkers and team captains who put in hard work to fundraise. Congratulations on a job well done!

If you or anyone you know would still like to support our work or contribute to a walker’s fundraising goal, we’re still accepting donations. Walker pages will be live until the end of March.

Saturday might have been gloomy with a constant drizzle, but walkers brought the metaphorical sunshine and warmth! This year, 261 walkers comprised of individuals, businesses, and Communities of Faith, who represented 30 different teams, took to the streets to complete their 2k or 5k routes.

When participants first showed up at 312 Main, we could feel the energy and excitement start to rise. It was such an uplifting experience to be in a room filled with hundreds of people gathered to support our neighbours in the DTES.

On our white board, we asked “Why do you walk for FIRST UNITED?” Some of the reasons shared were:

  • It is fun to make a difference
  • To involve all those people who want to help but don’t know how
  • Because everyone deserves respect and caring
  • Because everyone deserves dignity
  • Because everyone deserves a safe place to live and to eat
  • Every life matters
  • Because this is the weather some people have with not getting things they need.
  • Because everyone deserves a home!
  • Because it raises money and it is fun to walk with my friends.
  • Money and awareness can make a big difference!

What a powerful sight to see participants’ compassion and hearts for justice in writing! Teams didn’t just walk in the rain, they walked with purpose, sending the message that they are willing to take action to end injustices like homelessness and poverty.

We’d like to thank guest speakers Jenny Kwan, MP for Vancouver East, Joan Phillip, MLA for Vancouver-Mount Pleasant, Pete Fry and Christine Boyle, Vancouver City Councillors, who shared remarks before the walk on the need for affordable housing and how crucial it is for the public to be proactive in making a difference, and the value of FIRST UNITED’s work.

We couldn’t have pulled off this big event without our amazing volunteers! Our deepest gratitude goes to those who showed up to help with registration, food service, the food truck rest stop, route marshalling, set up and clean up. We’re so thankful for your time and dedication.

The rest stop on the route was our beloved First Food Truck. Our fantastic Rest Stop Sponsor, Richmond Steel Recycling provided hands-on support, helping us hand out hot chocolate and cookies to walkers in need of a warm drink and sweet treat.

When walkers returned to 312 Main, they were treated to a delicious steaming bowl of vegetarian chili, courtesy of FIRST UNITED kitchen staff! Not only were stomachs satiated with a filling meal after a rainy trek, walkers also got to experience the flavour and quality of the food that we serve to community members.

In addition to our Rest Stop Sponsor Richmond Steel Recycling, we’d also like to give a special thanks to our Supporting Sponsors BC Housing, Strathcona BIA, and ITC Construction Group, as well as our Community Sponsor Hastings Crossing BIA. Thank you for supporting our mission and providing life-saving services to the DTES.

Photos by volunteer photographer Avi Feinberg. Thank you for returning to capture moments and memories of this event.

And once again, thank you to all who joined us! We are in awe of this wonderful community that continues to show up for their neighbours. It’s because of you that we’ve been able to exceed our goal. There is nothing more powerful than a group coming together to make a change.

Top Team

Special shoutout to our number one fundraising team this year, Canadian Memorial Walkers, whose 26 walkers raised $13,834! What an incredible effort!

1K Walkers

Special shoutout to walkers who fundraised $1,000 or more! Way to go! Thank you for going above and beyond.

  • Bruce Frankard of Friends Forever
  • Heather Clarke of Heather’s Hope
  • Susan Du Moulin of Canadian Memorial Walkers
  • Jenny Newell of Canadian Memorial Walkers
  • Margaret Mutch of Canadian Memorial Walkers
  • Henry Goldbeck of Goldbeck Cold Walkers
  • Inge Siemens  of Universal Gospel Choir
  • Simone & Jon Carrodus of Team Highlands
  • Jean McTavish of Pacific Spirited Walkers
  • Patricia Alexis of Pacific Spirited Walkers
  • Mandy Shintani, Volunteer
  • Judy Toews of Team Highlands
  • Christine Gordon of Universal Gospel Choir
  • Brenda Belak of First Things First
  • Joanna Cossey of Crossroads United Church – Delta
  • Deb Walker of SHUC WALKERS
  • Judith Clark of Lynn Valley Amblers
  • Katie Walls of Canadian Memorial Walkers
  • Amber Tugwood (no team)
  • Dave Moors of SHUC WALKERS
  • Donna Piercey of West Van United Walkers

FIRST UNITED CNOY 2024 Teams and Captains

  • Sarah Winters- #WintersGotNoChill
  • Manisha Chopra- Accenture Vancouver
  • Vivian Guan- Beanfield – Vancouver
  • Karen Vanderheyden- Canadian Memorial Walkers
  • Mel Poon- Cold Feet Warm Hearts
  • Joanna Cossey- Crossroads United Church – Delta
  • Amanda Burrows- First Things First
  • Bruce Frankard- Friends Forever
  • Henry Goldbeck- Goldbeck Cold Walkers
  • Heather Clarke- Heather’s Hope
  • Gabrielle McLarty- Jubilee UC Walkers
  • Agnes Lai- Kindness Crew
  • Duncan Furniss- Ladner for First (LFF)
  • Denise Goldbeck- Launch Walkers
  • Judith Clark- Lynn Valley Amblers
  • Carla Wilks- Mount Seymour United Walkers
  • Juan Villela- One Downtown Vancouver Starbucks Team
  • Jean McTavish- Pacific Spirited Walkers
  • David Cathcart- Phrydai Wolkers
  • Dori Julian- Richmond Steel Recycling
  • Kylie Donaldson- Robert Allan Ltd.
  • Deb Walker- SHUC WALKERS
  • Jen Balfour- SPGC Vancouver
  • Julie Alava- Stepping Up and Stepping Out
  • Alice Frances- Sweater Weather Walkers
  • Judy Toews- Team Highlands
  • Sandra Willing- UHill United & Friends
  • Inge Siemens- Universal Gospel Choir
  • Ann Louise Filbert- West Van United Walkers
  • Will Goldbeck- Will of the People!

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