The Coldest Night of The Year (CNOY) took over Riverfront Park Saturday as over 180 Cochranites geared up to walk for the hurt, the hungry and the homeless.

"The atmosphere was one of community support and excitement and a little bit of courage, you know, out there on a winter's night about to do a five-kilometre walk,"  says Helping Hands executive director Laura McDonald. "We are exploding with gratitude. It is really overwhelming."

"We're very grassroots. we are a team of just four people and then of course we have over 300 volunteers who help us implement this work across the community."

The third annual Coldest Night Of The Year has raised $57,787 and the opportunity to donate or participate in a digital walk will remain open until the end of the month.

"This money is going towards continuing the 10 programs that Helping Hands offer to Cochrane and area."

"We run the Free Food Sheds, which is a pretty significant effort that we put in with our volunteers. Rescuing food daily from grocery stores, and making sure instead of hitting the landfill, perfectly acceptable food is instead being offered to the vulnerable in Cochrane then we have all of our one-to-one programs like our volunteer drives, our moving programs, caring neighbours, where we're out there helping people deal with isolation, loneliness, household maintenance."

The future of the event is bright and she expects the passion behind it will only continue to grow.

"We are going to keep running this event every February. We really hope that our walkers this year will join us again next year. We will be coming looking for extra walkers. We will be looking for extra sponsors to join our existing sponsors. And we're already talking about how we can shake up the route next year and maybe keep it fresh each year so we can explore different pathways around Cochrane."