Dennis Chippa is excited.
For the first time since the winter of 2020, North Bay's Gathering Place will be able to run its key fundraising event in person again.
Chippa, the executive director of The Gathering Place in North Bay, says the event will take place at ecole secondaire Algonquin on February 25.
"So far we have 18 teams signed up and it will be a walk now so we are excited," Chippa told BayToday.
"It is the first time in three years we have been able to have an actual walk so we are excited about that. Cecil's is coming by with Chili. It is really neat. The Empire Living Centre is doing their Warm Hearts thing on the Thursday before so it is really nice to see that we be back and teams of people and I cannot wait. We have got some new teams and some regulars.
"It is so nice to have all those folks there to be part of a community event because it has been three years since we were."
Chippa says the walk in the bitter cold is all about awareness.
"Everything we do, likely 75 per cent of the things I do, is about raising awareness for the situation these folks are in," admitted Chippa.
"If it is a really nasty cold night you are doing a 2 K walk so you are walking 15 to 20 minutes and we always say that. Imagine what is it going to be like for you to do this all day. That is why a service like ours is so valuable.
"That's why we like to drive the awareness as well as the fundraising for coldest night is to drive that awareness, that this is to try and keep our folks safe and they have a warm, safe place to go. It also allows us to drive the awareness for things like our outreach program and the incredible demands that we have had in the last six months from community agencies; agencies from individuals who can't get to the kitchen who are struggling with food insecurity. So it is a chance to talk about that."
Chippa says as well the ability to sit down together with staff and the group of people involved in the event is special too.