Square One Community Inc. Moose Jaw says that residents, businesses, and organizations have stepped up to support their first-ever Walk for Warmth taking place tonight (March 9) in the downtown core.
Chairperson Della Ferguson says that over 200 people have registered as teams or individuals for the event.
“It takes a village and the village is stepping up,” says Ferguson. “We have found since the announcement and folks hearing that we’re a step closer to this shelter, I think they’re starting to see that this is real. We can’t stress enough how much we need them to step up. It costs a lot of money to run a shelter and to provide wrap-around services.”
The money raised by this year’s event will go towards Square One’s goal to provide the city’s first women’s emergency shelter and to help continue the operation of a warming shelter to help those who have been displaced within the city.
“It will go to help pay the rent because we will lease that from Moose Jaw Non-Profit Housing, pay salaries, and supplies needed for that space,” adds Ferguson. “This will not be a fancy walk because we want every dollar to go into the shelter and not to things like prizes because it’s for the people we’re serving.”
Ferguson along with Square One is very thankful for those community members and organizations that have come forward to purchase various levels of sponsorship.
Square One is asking individuals, teams, and businesses to submit their pledge sheets between 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. on March 9 inside the Zion United Church prior to the event kicking off.
The event will run from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. and will begin on the steps of the Zion United Church (423 Main St N), continue around Crescent Park, and ends at St. Aidan Parish Hall (124 1 Ave NE). Participants are being advised to dress warmly and wear good walking shoes. Snacks will be provided by Kinsmen Café and Moose Jaw Families for Change. A short program will be held in the sanctuary to conclude the event.
“They find sanctuary there to be quite honest and we don’t want to invade that but we do want to honour and bless it in a sense.”
Along the way, the walk will make a stop at St. Andrew’s United Church (60 Athabasca St E) and have a memorial service to honour the city’s most vulnerable population and the lives that have been lost.
Ferguson says that this specific route and walk were chosen to give those attending perspective on what Moose Jaw’s most vulnerable encounter every day.
“By us in solidarity, on the street, and in the cold, it brings us together and it moves us forward. We’re walking the periphery of Crescent Park because the centre of our community is exactly where folks are walking and seeking warmth and shelter. It’s an effort to parallel on some level,” explains Ferguson.
At the end of the event, there will be a Walk for Warmth Windup that will include a short program, hot drinks and snacks, and a surprise performance.
The Walk for Warmth will also give the city’s displaced individuals an opportunity to connect with local agencies such as Mental Health and Addictions, Riverside Mission/Souls Harbour, Social Services, John Howard My Place Program, and other support agencies in the community.
To make a pledge, donation, or more information on sponsorship opportunities for the walk people can email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website.