Safe ‘n Sound kitchen manager Terry Jones, left, and drop-in centre regular William Strutton, minutes before 140 walkers took to downtown sidewalks for the Coldest Night of the Year which raised $28,000 for Safe ‘n Sound Saturday, February 23, 2019 in Owen Sound, Ont. Scott Dunn/The Owen Sound Sun Times/Postmedia Network
OWEN SOUNDSafe ‘n Sound raised $28,000 to help its homelessness prevention and anti-poverty efforts in Grey-Bruce with its inaugural Coldest Night of the Year fundraising walk.“I am so, so humbled,” board chair Leon Frisch told walkers before they headed outside, departing from Georgian Shores auditorium Saturday. He said 140 walkers helped Safe ‘n Sound’s beat its goal by $8,000.“You are amazing,” he said, and the room erupted with applause. After walking the two- or five-kilometre route, people were invited back to the church for hot soup.Begun in 2007 after the Salvation Army emergency shelter closed, Safe ‘n Sound runs a drop-in centre, crisis counselling service and a free lunch counter which serves 45 to 70 meals daily.It’s a place to shower and use toilet facilities, its volunteers staff an after-hours emergency housing line, it runs a needle exchange and harm-reduction clinic, it hands out clothing and toiletries and has transitional apartments above the drop-in centre.Frisch said all money raised stays with the non-profit organization, which spends about $140,000 annually to do its work. “Your financial contribution today makes our job so much easier.”It was a mild day for late February. People stepped around puddles and tramped over sidewalk ice and packed snow.Rick McLellan, with cane in hand, took the two-kilometre route with his wife, Pauline. They retired to Owen Sound from Ottawa in 2010.“We have a strong feeling about when you’re in a community, you owe the community,” the retired air force officer and St. Mary’s Church deacon said.“We have to look for things to do to somehow improve the life of people who are in need in that community. And so we do that.”
Rick and Pauline McLellan, front, were among 140 people who joined the Coldest Night of the Year fundraising walk which raised $28,000 for Safe ‘n Sound on Saturday, February 23, 2019 in Owen Sound, Ont. Scott Dunn/The Owen Sound Sun Times/Postmedia Network
Just ahead of them were sisters Casey and Micheline Burrows and Micheline’s 2 ½-year-old daughter, Andria Burrows, all of Owen Sound. Friend Aaron King, of Chatsworth, walked with them.The Burrows, who run Sisters Café in the regional rec centre, also helped at Safe ‘n Sound’s second annual Owen Sound Soup Market fundraiser at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church last Monday. “It’s nice to give back to the community I grew up in,” Casey said.King said Safe ‘n Sound is very important because it helps less fortunate people. “And walking is one of my favourite things to do so it wasn’t a hard decision” to join the walk.
Sisters Casey and Micheline Burrows and Micheline’s 2 1/2-year-old daughter, Andria, and friend Aaron King, joined the Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser which raised $28,000 for Safe ‘n Sound on Saturday, February 23, 2019 in Owen Sound, Ont. Scott Dunn/The Owen Sound Sun Times/Postmedia Network
Scott Dunn /
Scott Dunn/Sun Times
Before the walk started, William Strutton, a regular at Safe ‘n Sound, said he couldn’t wait to do the five-kilometre route. He used to volunteer in the kitchen, then started having health issues, he said. He receives a disability benefit.“I go there for the food — good food — the fellowship and just somewhere to hangout (where) I can deal with my anxiety. Instead of being stuck at home not doing nothing.” He said being at Safe ‘n Sound makes him feel better.He said the biggest thing people should know about Safe ‘n Sound is the staff there “actually care.” He looked at Terry Jones, the kitchen manager standing beside him.“This is amazing,” Jones said of all the people who turned out. “I straight up did not expect this at all. I’m actually lost for words to be honest with you,” he said. “The community has definitely stepped up.”Coldest Night of the Year walks are held across Canada every year. Last year walkers in more than 120 communities helped raise $4.9 million.