The annual Coldest Night of the Year event will be returning on February 24.
This event sees tens of thousands of Canadians bundle up every year to help combat homelessness.
The Baby It's Cold Outside Charitable Society is organizing teams to help those who need help in the Foothills community.
"So, what we do, as well as with everybody, and every charity at a national level, we're walking," explains Pamela Morgan, who is the founder and President of Baby It's Cold Outside. "So, you have the opportunity to bundle up with your kids or your loved ones or your friends, however that might look. Build a team, you then have an option of two kilometres or five kilometres you can walk."
After the walk, Baby It's Cold Outside invites those who walked to come join them at the Centennial Centre, where they'll be providing a warm-up dinner.
"It's wonderful, every year we've been able to have that centre. We have a community warm-up dinner. So, again, through sponsorship and support through local businesses, they allow us to come all together and look at our community and bring awareness to the fact that it doesn't matter where you are in Canada, whether you are rural or urban, the problems are the same. It may be dependent on the severity based on population," Morgan explained.
"However, I do need to be very upfront when I'm saying in Okotoks, we have people presently sleeping in their cars that are struggling, whether it's with an animal or their children. Wonderful that the Okotoks community has opened up their centres, recreation centres and whatnot, for housing, but I do want to be very upfront in saying that this isn't an urban problem. This is a national problem. We are in a housing crisis."
While people are encouraged to pledge money to those who are heading out into the dead of winter, money is also being donated by local businesses.
For those who may want to help out more than they can financially afford, there are other ways to help.
"You could do that through a sponsorship, you could create your own team yourself and do the walk, and then there will be options, obviously, at the event to do that," Morgan explains.
The money collected by Baby It's Cold Outside will be spent on shelter, food, clothing, and mental health support for those in need in our community.
"We really want this to be an annual community event. We would love to see families come out, for the educational aspect, create awareness throughout our community. It's a great opportunity to all come together," says Morgan. "We are pretty privileged and blessed to be able to get into a warm car, if we have that, and then go into our warm houses. So, it allows us to really be reflective of people that don't necessarily have, what I consider as a right, sometimes seems more like a privilege in our country. And I would love for our community to come out and support that agenda."
Keep an eye on the Baby It's Cold Outside Facebook page as they will keep people informed of what will happening on the Coldest Night of the Year.
Baby It's Cold Outside is hoping to have twenty teams raise $20,000 this year.
If you are in need of assistance, reach out to Baby It's Cold Outside at 403-660-3648, email@example.com, or via social media.