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Two teams from Anglican parishes in the Diocese of Edmonton joined people across Canada on Saturday, February 24, to walk in a pre-snowstorm Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) event in support of people and families experiencing hurt, hunger and homelessness in their communities.

In Spruce Grove, the team Parishioners for Paula, from St. Augustine’s-Parkland, fundraised and walked in memory of “our dear friend Paula Dunbar” for the Parkland Food Bank.

“Paula was an avid supporter and volunteer with the food bank for decades,” says parish administrator Michelle Squance-Slade. “Her husband David even wore her food bank apron to walk! It was a beautiful way to pay tribute to such a phenomenal lady.”

“Our own Karen Adlem was recognised at the event as a member of the 1K-fundraising club.” Adlem’s individual effort brought in more than $2,000.

“If you close your eyes and picture Paula, it won’t be hard to remember one of her famous hugs. She’s sure to be smiling down and hugging us all for our efforts.”

In Edmonton Strathcona, the team St. Strummer, from St. John the Evangelist (14 youth and 9 parents), helped the Mustard Seed reach its CNOY goal of $35,000. Led by Blake Holt, SJE Youth Director, team St. Strummer was joined by Eric Kregel, Community Chaplain, Mustard Seed, (Southside Edmonton).

Kregel, who was also joined by his daughters for the fundraising walk, shared with the youth about the Seed’s presence for people struggling with homelessness at its many sites in Edmonton: emergency shelters, medical shelters, supported housing, drop-in centres, collection centres, as well as a chaplaincy.

“We are incredibly grateful for the funds raised by these generous young people for our CNOY walk,” he says. “All of them walked 5k around the Old Strathcona neighbourhood, visiting our sites and learning about local poverty. If you know any of these walkers, please say a big ‘THANK YOU!’ We really appreciate their support.”

“The (Mustard) Seed is doing good work, but it needs more people to step up, says Holt. “We (Anglican Church of Canada, my church, myself) could and should be doing more. I have ideas, but it’s easy to come up with those. It’s another thing to make them a reality.”

Donations to the Coldest Night of the Year campaign in support of local charities serving people experiencing hurt, hunger, and homelessness are being accepted online until the end of March. Find a team and donate at:

Photo: Karen Kwan, SJE