We are excited to feature Our Place Society in our latest Non-Profit Highlight. In this post we touch base with Grant McKenzie, Director of Communications, about their upcoming campaign, “Coldest Night of the Year.” CNOY encourages the people of Victoria to walk in solidarity to raise funds for the hungry, homeless and hurting people in the Victoria community.
Our Place Society — Nourishment, hope and belonging for all
Our Place Society serves Greater Victoria’s most vulnerable. From serving over 1,200 meals per day, to hot showers, free clothing, counselling and outreach services, Our Place provides a sense of hope and belonging to neighbours in need.
Enjoy our conversation with Grant of Our Place Society!
How did you get involved with Our Place Society?
With a 30+-year career in journalism across Western Canada, I have always been drawn to unearthing social injustice. My last news job was editor-in-chief of Monday magazine, when it was still an alternative newspaper, where I tapped into the social issues facing Victoria and surrounding area. This led to me applying for a leadership position with Our Place where I could take my story-telling to the frontlines and attempt to shine a spotlight on the issues facing this incredibly defenseless population.
Describe your team and all those involved with Our Place Society?
Our Place has an incredible team of staff and volunteers working together to serve the most vulnerable members of our community. Every day, we try to bring hope and comfort to people experiencing homelessness, poverty, addiction, mental health issues, and other barriers to mainstream acceptance. We provide over 60 programs and services, including hot meals, clothing, showers, medical services, haircuts, counselling, employment training, and more. Plus, we recently opened a unique Therapeutic Recovery Community to try and end the cycle of homelessness to jail and back to homelessness.
What has been the most rewarding moment you’ve experienced working with Our Place Society?
Earning the trust of so many people who spend their nights either on our streets or in inadequate housing. Having men and women who have been through so much abuse and trauma in their lives be willing to share their stories with me is incredible.
Explain your Upcoming Event “The Coldest Night of the Year.”
Coldest Night of the Year is a national campaign to raise money and awareness to support hungry, homeless, and hurting people in our community. For the third year in a row, Our Place will host a CNOY walk in Greater Victoria. Last year saw over 360 people walk with us downtown as we raised $57,000. On February 22nd, 2020, we are hosting two walks, one downtown and one in the western communities where we will be partnering with Pacific Centre Family Services Association in order to support the most vulnerable members of lower Vancouver Island.
How Can Businesses and Individuals get Involved with The Coldest Night of the Year?
As of November 7, registrants will be able to sign up their teams. It is a unique way for businesses, families, friends, schools, churches or community groups to be part of a national event, and to support Our Place Society to make a difference in the community.
The campaign also provides some great sponsorship opportunities. Sponsorship in the Coldest Night of the Year is a unique opportunity for businesses to reach a wider audience while aligning with a charity dedicated to supporting our community. It’s a great way to bring hope, warmth and connections.