Orillia is once again showing the rest of the country how much generosity can be found in a small city.
Last month’s Coldest Night of the Year walk was the city’s most successful yet, raising $128,588 to combat homelessness — and there’s still time to donate.
Organizers had set a goal of $110,000.
“I was hoping for around $120,000, but, again, Orillia just blew us away by getting close to $130,000. Amazing,” said Linda Goodall, executive director of the Lighthouse shelter.
The money will go toward the Lighthouse as well as the Building Hope campaign to build a new shelter.
The fundraising total from the Feb. 23 event puts Orillia in first per capita and fourth overall in Canada. The city also had more walkers than any other municipality, with 608.
“It totally boggles my mind,” Goodall said, adding the success “comes down to our generous community.”
“We are just a philanthropic community. People see the need at the Lighthouse and in our community, and this is a tangible way people can give back.”
Having “a phenomenal planning team” also helps. That team of about 15 people, as well as the 100 volunteers who supported this year’s event, deserve credit for making the Orillia walk one of the most successful in Canada, Goodall said.
Donations are being accepted until March 31. To donate, and to check out photos from the event, visit cnoy.org/orillia.
Orillia’s next Coldest Night of the Year walk will take place Feb. 22, 2020.