Wednesday, June 19, 2024




Making a difference locally and globally is what Rotarians do. Sometimes it is a simply going for a walk – which is what an increasing number of Rotarians are doing every February. By participating in the Coldest Night of the Year Walk to support local organizations that are helping the most vulnerable in their communities. 

The Walk is a winterrific family-friendly awareness and fundraising event to support local charities which are servicing members of our communities that are hungry, hurting, and homeless.

In the Comox Valley, District 5020, the 5 Rotary Clubs and 3 Interact Clubs have participated for several years, initially responding to what became an annual inter-club challenge. Last winter, the Rotary and Interact clubs collectively raised more than $20,000 to support two local charities. The inbound District Exchange Students also participated in the walk as part of their Rendezvous weekend visit to the valley. 

The Walk started in Central Canada and spread across the country, and now American communities are joining in. One feature of the Walk is The Challenge where combinations of teams from different corporate, community, professional, and professional groups can compete to see which group can raise the most funds.

Last year, 53 Rotary Clubs participated in the 2023 Walk, raising more than $175,000 in total. Taking second place behind Starbucks. With more than 200 community groups participating and benefiting from the Walk, there is an opportunity for many more Rotarians to participate and for us to outpace Starbucks. Please consider joining the Challenge.

As Norfolk Ontario Rotarian Cathy Harrop says, “It was just easy.” Blue Sea Philanthropy, a Kitchener, Ont. based non-profit organization, and the local charities do all the organizing. All a Rotary Club needs to do is select a team captain, register the team, encourage Club members and their friends and family to join the team and/or pledge funds, and then either organize your own walk or show up for the in-person event organized by the sponsor organizations. For instance, the Strathcona-Sunrise Rotary Club team organizes an annual snowshoe walk on Mt Washington.

The 2024 Walk will take place on Saturday Feb 24th. To find out more about the Walk and which organization in your community is benefiting, simply go to and, click on location, and search for you community. Once there, you can register your team, set a goal, and invite others to join or pledge funds. If your community does not yet participate in the Walk, perhaps talk to your community’s charities, and see if they would be interested in participating – if not this year perhaps next. Or support a Rotary team in another community. Once registered, your team will automatically become part of the Rotary Challenge group, and you can track and compare your progress with other Rotary teams as we challenge Starbucks!

Across the continent, communities will be “gathering for good.” Please consider joining other Rotarians and members of your community as we walk to help the hungry, the hurting, and the homeless.

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