VANCOUVER -- Hundreds of people across Vancouver Island and across the country took to the streets Saturday night to join the fight against homelessness.

Walks were planned in Victoria, Nanaimo, Campbell River, Parksville, Port Alberni, Langford and Sooke to mark "The Coldest Night of the Year," a nationwide event that seeks to raise awareness and funds for charities that help the homeless.

The Victoria walk is hosted by Our Place Society, which is aiming to raise $75,000 from this year's event. Donations were still coming in as of the start of registration for the walk at 4 p.m., at which point almost $60,000 had been raised, according to Grant McKenzie, communications director for Our Place.

Nearly 350 walkers were registered to participate in the Victoria event Saturday, and another 150 were registered to participate in the Langford event, which is co-hosted by Our Place and the Pacific Centre Family Services Association

McKenzie said the family friendly event not only raises funds, but also offers people the opportunity to connect with the homeless people they've come to support.

"It's a little bit to see what people are experience, what they're going through, and get a sense of that community," McKenzie said. "It's just a way to come support the community and show your support for people who are less fortunate and people who are suffering from homelessness."

Three routes were available for participants at each event, including two-kilometre, five-kilometre, and 10-kilometre paths.

Post-walk meals were planned for participants in both Our Place events.

Last year, Our Place Society raised more than $57,000 through its Coldest Night of the Year walks. 

Funds raised will be used to ensure Our Place is able to stay open until 9 p.m. daily, as well as to pay for the 1,200 meals the society serves each day, McKenzie said.