Coldest night walk to raise funds for homeless shelter

Amy MacKenzie
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Rev. Keith Hazzard and shelter volunteer Lindsay Billington stand in front of the LifeShelter on Marsh Street. They hope to see people in the community sign up for a nighttime walk to raise funds for its operations.  AMY MACKENZIE – THE NEWS

NEW GLASGOW – In the dead of winter a frigid night can make walking the distance from a car to a house seem like a pain. But this February, the LifeShelter wants Pictou County residents to spend a night walking in the cold to raise funds for those without a home to warm up in.

The Coldest Night of the Year is a nation-wide fundraising initiative spread across 39 locations where teams of fundraisers will walk five or 10 kilometres the night of Feb. 23 to raise money for charities that help the hungry, homeless and hurting in Canada. The LifeShelter in New Glasgow is one of the charities involved in the initiative.

Rev. Keith Hazzard, who runs the LifeShelter, said since it reopened in October, its services have been used frequently. He hopes the community will become involved in this fundraiser to help the centre continue its work.

“We’ve been in here almost every night since we opened in October. To date, we’ve helped almost 20 unique individuals,” Hazzard said. “This week, we had a couple we helped out who were actually living in their car. They finally heard about us and we were able to help. It’s heartening to see that it is making a difference for people.”

Hazzard wants to see the positive work the LifeShelter is doing for those living in poverty continue with the help of this nighttime walk. The fundraising goal for the Shelter is $25,000, which would cover the upcoming year’s operating costs and the costs associated with its breakfast program.

“In the next couple of weeks we’re looking for team captains, people who will step up to that level and gather a group, whether it’s a group of co-workers or a group of family members or group of friends that want to make a difference in the community,” he said. “They can go onto the website ( and pick a name for the team. There’s a scoreboard on there to keep track of how they’re doing. The website will track your progress towards your goal.”

Hazzard said the website is easy to navigate. Click on the locations tab and then on the New Glasgow tab and all the information for the walk will come up.

Hazzard said he chose the Coldest Night of the Year as the main fundraiser for the LifeShelter because it allows supporters of the shelter an opportunity to feel what it’s like to be out in the cold for an extended period of time.

“That’s the point of it, to give people a taste of the cold air,” he said. “We’re certainly not going to feel it the way a homeless person would feel it, but it gets you in that frame of mind.”

Teams and individuals can sign up to walk and fundraise for the LifeShelter at and those who wish to donate to a walker can do so on the website as well.

Geographic location: NEW GLASGOW, Pictou County, Canada

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