With temperatures well below minus 20, students and staff of the Cochrane High School ventured outside on Feb. 12 for a 3-km walk in support of the nationwide Coldest Night of the Year campaign.

Erica Fredstrom, a French Immersion teacher at Cochrane High School, coordinates the school's volunteer club and was impressed with how many participated.

"Strangely, the school was closed on Thursday due to cold, so I had expected all the parents to say no it's too cold. It was actually very impressive that so many people showed up."

About 35 students and five staff members participated in the mid-afternoon walk on a day when the temperature was around minus 26... plus wind chill.

So far, they've collectively raised $2,865 for a campaign that aims to help charities serving hungry, homeless, and hurting people in our community.

Locally, it's being coordinated locally by the Helping Hands Society of Cochrane of Area and cumulates with a community event on Feb. 20.

"They provided us with toques, and every kid who raised money got a Coldest Night of the Year toque, so that was another incentive for them. It's still going on, it's still happening."

The fundraising wraps up on Feb. 20.

She says it's been a tough year for the volunteer club, soon to evolve into an interact club, to find organizations that would take them in as a group because of COVID-19. In a normal year, they would do one volunteer event a month.

"This was really the only event we were able to do as a group this year, and so I think that was really special because, with COVID-19, we haven't really been able to do much in the community. This was a great alternative. Although it's a little bit hands-off and more towards raising money, it was really neat to have the group come together for one single cause."

Should it be held next year in Cochrane, Fredstrom believes they would participate again.