Flint, MI—Shelter of Flint is encouraging Genesee County residents to bundle up and take a walk during “The Coldest Night of the Year,” a family-friendly fundraiser in support of the county’s unhoused population.

Shelter of Flint is hosting the fundraising walk on the evening of Feb. 26, 2022 with both an in-person and remote participation option.

The in-person event will take place at Bentley Community Schools (1170 N. Belsay Road, Burton, Mich. 48509). Registration is set to open at 4:30 pm, and the walk will begin at 5:30 pm.

According to the Shelter of Flint’s press release, the entire in-person walk is outdoors with physical distancing and other safety measures in place. Participants can expect to walk a two-kilometer or five-kilometer route and celebrate their efforts with Starbucks hot tea, coffee, and hot chocolate afterward.

Remote participants will be walking solo or with their families, friends, and teams on self-designed routes throughout the Flint community. 

“It’s cold, but that’s part of the point,” said Linda Bielskis, President & CEO of Shelter of Flint. “We’re asking supporters to not only raise funds to support our work, but to help us draw attention to the difficult conditions people living on the streets encounter every day.”

The Coldest Night of the Year is a nationwide fundraising event that recently expanded from Canada in 2022. There, according to the CNOY webpage, participating charities have raised over $43.5 million in 149 communities since the walk began in 2011.

Shelly Hoffman, Development Director for Shelter of Flint, said that she expects around 100 walkers in the event’s inaugural year for Genesee County, but she would welcome many more. 

“I would invite anyone who wants to walk to come out and walk and make a donation at any level,” Hoffman said. “We’re just happy to have people there.”

Those interested in walking, donating, or learning more about Coldest Night of the Year can visit cnoy.com/flint. All participants who raise over $150 (or $75 for youth) will receive “Coldest Night of the Year” beanies, which Hoffman said the shelter will ensure get to remote participants as well.

Kate is Flint Beat's associate editor. She joined the team as a corps member of Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues....