“The Coldest Night of the Year”: Helping Homelessness and Hunger


Grace King

People gather at the starting line of the walk before commencement speeches begin.

The newly founded “Coldest Night of the Year Walk” is an event that aims to bring awareness to the homeless and hungry. Within Bucks County alone, there are more than 400 people living without homes. The Bucks County Foodshed reported there are 65,000 Bucks County residents who are food insecure. 35 percent of those are children and 14 percent of those are seniors. On top of this, 64 percent are adults that are working at least one full-time job. The walk was held on Feb. 25 at the Doylestown Borough and was organized by the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), Bucks County Opportunity Council, Bucks County Housing Group, and Serving Bucks Together.

All of these organizations have a simple goal: to help people in need within Bucks County. The YWCA has had a mission to eliminate racism and empower women for over 160 years. The Bucks County Opportunity Council strives to be a model of seamless case management and also influences the community to make reducing poverty one of its priorities. The Bucks County Housing Group is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that provides a wide range of social services to the homeless and food insecure. They have many dedicated employees, volunteers, and partners coming from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences.

For this particular event, the walk began at the Bucks County Justice Center. Individuals, families, neighbors, businesses, and others are asked to form teams and gather sponsors to support their walk through Doylestown Borough. Participants can choose to take either the 2k or 5k route. The walk ended at the James Lorah Auditorium. They could receive a meal along with some warm beverages. The goal was to raise $50,000. Anyone who raised more than $150, or $75 for minors, received a beanie. Overall, they were expecting 100 walkers and a total of 30 teams.

This event was organized by many people whose goal was to bring awareness to and help combat the issue of homelessness and hunger in Bucks County. Kelly Pasquarella, the event director at the YWCA, stated how she continued to work for the cause because “These people need us.” Not only are these organizations trying to bring awareness to the homeless and hungry, but they are also trying to empower women. Kristin Chapin, an associate director of the YWCA, stated how “I always had a passion for empowering girls to be confident and independent.”

Across the country, the “Coldest Night of the Year Walk” has made $644,000 out of the $500,000 it aimed to raise. There have been a total of 575 teams and 3,816 walkers participating at 21 different locations. As they continue to run this event, the numbers will grow and the awareness and help for the homeless and hungry will increase. Hopefully, in the future, they will raise more money to be able to keep helping everyone that they can.