By Robert McAlaster, contributor.


The Nicola Valley Food Bank Society is proudly hosting their second annual Coldest Night of the Year charitable walk, and they need your help.

Imagine for a moment…

It’s a chilly winter evening when you step outside. Sure, it’s cold, but you know that when your walk is over, you’re going to come back to a warm house and a hot meal.

For most British Columbians, this way of living is commonplace and perhaps sometimes taken for granted. Having a solid roof over our heads, clean clothes on our backs, and filling meals in our bellies is ‘normal.’ However, our ‘normal’ way of living is a dream for over one hundred thousand families in our province.

According to the 2021 Hunger Count Report (commissioned by Food Banks of Canada), over 131,000 households (single persons, children, couples, and families) in British Columbia visited one of 126 different food banks last year. With these statistics rising year-over-year, the importance of helping those in our communities cannot be over-emphasized.

Enter the Nicola Valley Food Bank.

On February 26th, 2022, the NVFB is inviting all able residents of Merritt to come to partake in the Coldest Night of the Year charitable walk. Currently, nine teams of walkers, consisting of 23 individuals, are signed up for the event. For the next 24 days, these teams (and any others who wish to register) will accept cash donations that will go directly to the NVFB to help them help others in the community. The nine teams have raised $2,630 out of their $20,000 goal as of Wednesday morning. 

The walk will start at the Nicola Valley Food Bank (2026 Quilchena Ave.) at 5 pm on the 26th. Teams will be given the option of walking 2km or 5km, either virtually or in person.   

“The Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) is so important because when life gets busy and challenging, we often feel lost and alone,” Ayme Desmond, a student at the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology and NVFB/CNOY volunteer, told the Herald in an interview this week.

“[The event] can give us hope and encouragement, something positive to work towards, an event each and everyone can enjoy together for a fantastic cause,” continued Desmond, “ There is a lot of darkness and hurt in the world, but one step at a time, we can work together to bring light, joy, and hopefulness to those who are struggling and try to help better their lives in any way possible.”

The NVFB has operated in Merritt and the surrounding communities since 1999. According to statistics from their website, the food bank currently assists approximately 850 people each month (roughly 8.5% of Merritt’s population each month) by “providing supplemental food hampers as well as additional specialized programs focusing on the children within those families.”

For more information on the event, including how to pledge funds, start your own team, or volunteer for the walk, visit

To find out how you can donate cash or food items to the Nicola Valley Food Bank Society, interested parties are encouraged to call 250-378-2282 or visit