Operating a drop-in centre for the poor, marginalized and homeless population is a major undertaking, but it is a far harder task when the organization itself doesn’t have a place to call home.
For the past six months, that’s precisely the predicament nightlight Kingston has found itself in. The drop-in centre, which offered a warm place to socialize over a cup of coffee and was open to anyone, was given notice to vacate their former location at 666 Princess Street in August of 2018. With that location being demolished to make way for an apartment building – and heading into arguably the most important season for their operations – nightlight Kingston was forced to find a temporary meeting spot. And, while nightlight Kingston is grateful to Next Church on Colborne Street for offering them a space to host weekly meetings, the organization is still seeking a permanent home.
“We have been struggling to find a suitable and affordable new location ever since. The increase in rent since we were [last] looking in 2012 is making our search challenging,” said Lesley Lorimer, events and communications coordinator for nightlife Kingston.
That’s why nightlight Kingston’s annual fundraising event is more important to the organization this year than ever before. Each year, nightlight Kingston joins hundreds of similar organizations across Canada to participate in the Coldest Night of the Year fundraising walk. The event takes place on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019 across the country, and here in Kingston, teams of supporters will participate in the walk, raising not only awareness of nightlife Kingston and the need for its services, but important funds the organization hopes will help secure their new permanent location.
“This year more than ever, this fundraising walk is essential so we can have the resources we need to secure a new lease… We are keen to get settled in a more permanent location. This type of disruption can be difficult for our guests who tend to rely on a consistent and familiar routine,” Lorimer said.
A multi-denominational, Christian-based ministry, nightlight Kingston has a fundraising goal of $30,000 for this year’s Coldest Night of the Year walk. So far, the walk was 72 walkers registered on 16 teams to walk for the Coldest Night of the Year, and the walk is being facilitated by over 30 volunteers. Local community sponsors have already got on board to sponsor a rest stop with warm beverages, thanks to Buchner Manufacturing and Starbucks. And there will be a warm chilli dinner provided afterwards, courtesy of The Mansion, who are offering a 10 per cent discount to anyone wearing a Coldest Night of the Year hat in February and March. The event also has sponsors for the three different distances of the walk (two, five, or 10km), and the event itself, all of whom nightlight Kingston expressed sincere gratitude towards.
But, as Lorimer pointed out, there is still lots of room for more walkers, volunteers, and sponsors, Lorimer said. Anyone interested in participating can contact nighlight Kingston at [email protected], or go to https://cnoy.org/location/kingston for more information, or to register.
For more information on nightlight Kingston, go to http://nightlightcanada.com/locations/nightlight-kingston/.