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Moncton walkers, runners hit the street for Coldest Night of the Year

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Hundreds of people took to the streets of Moncton, N.B., early Saturday evening to help support youth experiencing homelessness.

Youth Impact Jeunesse held its 11th annual Coldest Night of the Year walk in the downtown area.

The walk takes place every February so participants can get a better understanding of what it’s like living on the streets in the dead of winter.

Walkers had the choice of a two or five kilometre walk around the icy streets of the downtown core to support Youth Impact’s Transitional Housing and Youth QUEST Central programs.

Executive director Mel Kennah said both of those services help young people between the ages of 16 and 24 who are struggling with issues of homelessness.

Kennah said there is definitely a need for more youth housing right now.

“I’m sad to say it’s growing and it’s growing rapidly. Just as the city is growing and prospering, so is the complexity of the social issues that go right along with it. We are actually to the point where we’re considering, strongly, actually expanding our transitional housing program because there is such a need,” said Kennah. “That seems to be the direction we’re going in.”

Kennah said the community in Moncton has really embraced the event.

“We’ve been doing it here for eleven years now,” said Kennah. “When you think of homelessness, sometimes we think of somebody who is absolutely homeless. Someone in a tent city or what have you. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s really so many people in precarious living situations who maybe have a place to stay now or in a dangerous situation, but they’re one step away from actually becoming homeless.”

The event took place in 190 cities and towns across Canada with tens of thousands of people hitting the streets.

First across the finish line

Richard Mallet was the first person to cross the finish line after running the 5K route.

“When I was asked to run today I said, ‘Why not?’ I needed to run anyways and it’s for a great cause,” said Mallet. “I love being part of a good energy, and this is definitely it.”

Cheerleaders from Harrison Trimble High School in Moncton welcomed participants at the finish line for the Coldest Night of the Year on Feb. 24, 2024.

The goal of Saturday’s fundraiser was $200,000.

Donations are still being accepted for the Coldest Night of the Year and can be made at the Youth Impact Jeunesse website.

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