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Maritimes preparing to bundle up for annual Coldest Night of the Year walk

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From coast to coast on Saturday evening thousands of Canadians will hit the streets for the Coldest Night of the Year.

The annual two or five kilometre fundraising walks support local charities and organizations serving those in need, such as the homeless population. Since 2011, the event has raised over $75,000,000 across the country.

There are a total of 16 walks taking place in the Maritimes Saturday evening, with events taking place in Charlottetown, Halifax and Saint John, among others. Registration beings at 4 p.m. in each maritime community, before hitting the streets following a short opening ceremony at 5 p.m.

In Saint John, there were over 250 walkers signed up across 46 teams, as of Friday evening. Over $70,000 was raised with still 24 hours before the event, with all the proceeds supporting Outflow Ministry for the twelfth straight year.

“Over the years it has really supported our ministry,” says Co-Executive Director Jayme Hall. “We run a homeless shelter. We have 86 beds a night that we run and we have a training and employment centre and we have meal programs that we run.”

Hall says part of the money raised this year will also go towards the construction of six units for those transitioning out of the men’s shelter.

“The event is not just to raise money,” Hall notes. “But just to get people around and to see what’s going on, and to have that many people walking on the streets to see things is important and enlightening really.”

One of the over 250 people planning to walk in Saint John is Emily Colborne. She and her team at Dillon Consulting Saint John have raised over $7,000 for Outflow with still 24 hours before the event.

She says the company has worked with Outflow in the past and loves to give back any way they can. Dillon Consulting started a campaign in 2021 to help combat food security in the area.

“And Outflow really aligns with that,” says Colborne. “Us being able to help them in that way was really important to us.”

“I’m fortunate enough to have a home, have a family, and be able to support my family and not have to deal so much with the food insecurity,” continues Colborne. “So if I can help give back to families, or people and individuals … I would no doubt give back.”

The same sentiment can be said for Sandy and Doug Hall, who have taken part in the walk each year since it began.

“Be bold and ask people to support you because it is not for you, it’s for someone else,” says Sandy, with the couple having raised over $1,000.

“I think we are seeing more and more of this today where people are on the street,” says husband Doug. “And it’s probably easier for people to say I need to be a part of this.”

It’s something Hall can agree with, working on the front lines of the homeless issue each day.

“The light is on it, and we’re here as we’ve always been just trying to fill the gaps where we can and pitch in and be a part of change with everyone in the community who is working really hard towards these initiatives,” Hall says.

Those who haven’t signed up and are interested in walking can visit the Coldest Night of the Year’s website for more information. You can also sign up to take part at the event itself ahead of the walk.

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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