Phelps Homes steps up for Coldest Night of the Year
Developers first in Canada to make three-year commitment to annual walk
Niagarathisweek.com – Dec 02,2016
Grimsby Lincoln News
By Luke Edwards
WEST NIAGARA — Charity fundraisers can be wrought with uncertainty.
There’s the question of how many people will show up, or whether you can create a buzz. Longstanding events must keep things fresh without abandoning what made them successful. And of course the wonderful Canadian weather system complicates things further.
Luckily for organizers of next February’s West Niagara Coldest Niagara of the Year walk they can cross one question of the uncertainty list: major sponsor. And not just for 2017, but the next three years, as Phelps Homes has made a three-year commitment to the walk, which raises money and awareness to combat homelessness and is a fundraiser for the YWCA – Grimsby Affordable Housing Partnership. The commitment is the first of its kind in Canada, which has more than 100 communities taking part in the Coldest Night of the Year walk every February.
“We were very proud to be part of the event last year,” said Paul Phelps, owner of Phelps Homes. “This helps them plan for years to come.”
The 2017 walk will be a little different from past years. Because of its upcoming capital campaign Community Care of West Niagara opted out of next year’s walk. With the YWCA already planning to involve West Lincoln in the 2017 event, organizers also jumped at the opportunity to include Lincoln as well, making it a completely West Niagara event.
Phelps called it a “perfect match” for the company, since their homes can be found throughout West Niagara.
Last year’s walk for YWCA – GAHP raised $50,000, well past its goal of $35,000. Phelps Homes as sponsors donated $5,000, but on top of that a team of about a 15 employees also raised an additional $6,000, meaning the developers contributed more than 20 per cent to the entire amount raised.
“To have a sponsor come on board and say, ‘yes we believe in this event so much we’re even going to walk with you,’ is significant,” said Laura Ip, resource development coordinator with the YWCA.
“This means more for our clients at the end of the day,” added Cheryl Aliferis, GAHP off site transitional support worker.
GAHP board member Bruce Wallace said the event and Phelps Homes’ sponsorship doesn’t just raise much needed money to address homelessness, but it also raises awareness.
“And awareness is such a challenge,” he said. That’s even more the case in West Niagara, where much of the homelessness is hidden, Wallace added.
This year’s walk will take place at Grimsby Secondary School on Feb. 25. Things begin at 4 p.m., with the actual walk starting at 5. Organizers expect more than 300 participants, who will walk routes of two, five, or 10 kilometres. New this year will be staggered start times. The popular chili cook-off returns in 2017 to help warm participants up after their walk.
The goal this year is to raise $60,000, which will help support YWCA – GAHP, an organization that helps people find affordable housing across West Niagara. Aliferis said there is currently a wait list, and while they recently signed a new landlord up to help the program, some people still have to wait a year before they can secure an affordable housing opportunity.
Luke Edwards is a reporter for the Grimsby Lincoln News and editor for Niagara Farmers' Monthly. His column appears alternate weeks in The News' Tuesday edition. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook.
Phelps Homes steps up for CNOY
Phelps Homes has made a three-year sponsorship commitment to the YWCA – GAHP Coldest Night of the Year walk, the first such commitment in Canada.
From left: GAHP board member Bruce Wallace, off site transitional support worker Cheryl Aliferis,
Phelps Homes owner Paul Phelps, YWCA resource development coordinator Laura Ip, and GAHP board member John Van Wely.