Coldest night is nigh


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February 9, 2017 12:00 AM

CHILLY Cheryl Ross flew the flag at 2016's Coldest Night of the Year, which raises needed funds for the Lloydminster Men's Shelter's general operations. This year the event kicks off at Grace United Church on Feb. 25. FILE LLS PHOTO

The Coldest Night of the Year is drawing nigh, and expectations for 2017 are refreshingly optimistic.
Last year’s numbers weren’t the greatest, pulling in roughly $9,000, but the walk is standing at $8,000 already with the walk still weeks away.
Heather Grey, executive director of the Lloydminster Men’s Shelter who help organize the national walk locally, explained the importance of the event in the Border City community.
“The money is needed for general operation (of the shelter), but it’s also the awareness part to let the public know what homelessness is,” she said.
“A lot of people are three to four paychecks away from being homeless in today’s economy—jobs in town are scarce now, so when you run out of your own resources you need to use a system like this one and more and more people, with this economy, are experiencing some hardships and we want to try and alleviate that as much as we can.”
The Coldest Night of the Year, which takes place on Feb. 25, works by having teams and individuals collect pledges, then choose to walk either a two, five or 10 km route throughout the city.
This is the fifth year the event has taken place in Lloydminster, which used to be held at Bud Miller All Seasons Park, but the location has changed, starting at Grace United Church and snaking through the downtown area to make it more visible, because awareness is half the point of holding it, Grey said.
The walk is also designed to give participants an idea of what it’s like to be out in the frigid cold, a situation homeless people have to endure each year living outside.
Registration begins at 4 p.m. with opening ceremonies kicking off an hour later, then after the trek is compete there’ll be a supper provided with entertainment and closing ceremonies.
“It’s a fun night, there’s a bit of a social after, so come and walk and talk with us, get to know us so we can get to know you and work together,” Grey said.
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