Chilly cheeks for a good cause

By Kassidy Christensen

March 1, 2017 2:13 PM

BRRRAVING THE COLD Participants of The Coldest Night of the Year walk in front of The Root: Community Emporium on Feb. 25 in support of homesslessness. KASSIDY CHRISTENSEN LLS PHOTO

Border City residents took to the streets in -15C weather during The Coldest Night of the Year event, hosted by the Lloydminster Men’s Shelter.
Sixty-four participants walked outside for two, five, or 10-km Feb. 25 in support of the event’s goal of raising awareness for homelessness.
Heather Gray, executive director of the Lloydminster Social Action Coalition Society, which operates the Lloydminster Men’s Shelter and Homes for All Program, said the event is put on in Lloydminster to raise money for the Men’s Shelter and Homes For All programs and raise awareness on homelessness.
“So people understand what homelessness is and why we need to try and end homelessness,” Gray said.
The nation-wide event is organized by Blue Sea Philanthropy out of Toronto and more than 200 communities across the country, according to Gray, walked in support of homelessness on the same day.
Gray said Lloydminster was given a goal of raising $20,000 by Blue Sea Philanthropy based on the city’s population.
To date, with some calculations still in the works and some money still coming in, Gray proudly reported their goal of $20,000 has been met.
“At this point we’re saying we met our goal,” Gray said. “I think people realize there are people in need and they’ve come out this time (to support).”
Gray said the money raised will go towards operations for the Men’s Shelter and Homes For All programs, and any remaining funds will be allocated towards starting some new programs.
Brent Gebhardt, five-time participant of The Coldest Night of the Year, said him and his men’s group wanted to help out in the community.
“And recognizing that shelter is a fundamental need, so we’re doing what we can to contribute to helping solve that problem,” he said. “That’s a key thing for having a healthy life is having a place to call your own, some security and stability.”
Gebhardt said it was good to see people recognizing the need and contributing in whatever way they can.
Mayor Gerald Aalbers and several councillors were in attendance either as walkers or volunteers, and Aalbers kicked off the event with a ceremonial ribbon cutting.
In a speech he gave prior to hitting the path, Aalbers extended his thanks to volunteers and participants.
“Make sure to have a good time, but be safe, enjoy, I’m sure there will be some good discussion and thank you so much for being here,” he said.
Gray also extended many thanks to all who participated in the event.

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