Gear up with your toques and mittens as the ‘coldest night of the year’ is coming soon to Merritt.

Merrittonians will once again be able to participate and raise awareness and funds in support of those facing housing and food insecurity, as part of Nicola Valley Food Bank’s (NVFB) fourth annual ‘Coldest Night of the Year’ charity walk.

The charity walk encourages participants to share their registration in an effort to raise funds for the local food bank’s operation and a new facility to be built.

On Saturday, Feb. 24, participants will gather at the food bank and set out on a two or five kilometre walk in the cold winter night. At the end of the walk, a warm meal will be provided to the participants as an appreciation for their gesture.

“We were asked to become part of the walk a few years ago,” Derlanda Hewton, manager at NVFB, said. “It’s just a great community event. We would like to see more people come out and work with us.”

As of now, the food bank is trying to reach their $20,000 goal for the night. Those who wish to participate are asked to register for the walk at www.cnoy.org/location/nicolavalley.

Those who aren’t able to attend to the event are also welcome to register and walk offsite with their friends and family.

“We’re just trying to push more volunteers, like walkers, captains in helping us fundraise,” Hewton added.

Hewton said that they also need volunteers for the event, whether that would be to help with the signage of the road or help getting people registered.

“As always, we’re so thankful for donations and for the community support that we have and without these donations coming in, we wouldn’t be able to provide the services that we do and we are happy to do so,” Hewton said.