Dan Mullen, right, of the Mink Breeders Association of Nova Scotia, hands John Andrew of Open Arms a cheque toward a new shelter in Kentville. - Submitted
By Wendy Elliott
Kings County’s Open Arms is looking at a new facility to serve the homeless in Kentville.
The Nova Scotia Mink Breeders Association has given Open Arms a donation of $15,320, says John Andrew, with the organization, to get the fundraising started off.
“We intend to use it as seed money towards a facility that would include the drop-in center, existing programs and also affordable housing units,” he explained.
According to Andrew, the shire town appears to be the place of most concentrated need, but “outreach to Berwick and Wolfville are no less important,” he added.
Currently, Open Arms operates out of a small, rented facility at the Cornwallis Inn.
Interest in the Coldest Night Of the Year walk on Feb. 23 is growing, he added, which will also help raise funds towards a shelter. So far $20,712 has been raised, he said.
Open Arms has 39 teams and 216 walkers participating so far. Andrew is “hoping for 250 walkers and $30,000, but we are so thankful for the boost this has given us regardless.”
Funds are always terrific, he added, “but this has also brought increased awareness” of new volunteers and people in need.
“We are doing very well indeed,” he said.
Open Arms is the only participating organization in this province, which makes Kings County one of 34 communities nationally to focus on poverty and homelessness across Canada.
The Coldest Night of the Year is a non-competitive five- and 10-kilometre winter walk fundraiser supporting select Canadian charities that serve the hungry, homeless and hurting across Canada. It will be held on Feb. 23.
The walk was began in Ontario two years ago raising $110,000. In 2012, it expanded to 18 cities across the country and raised $668,000 with the help of 3,075 walkers.