Coldest Night of the Year raises more than $13,000 for Life Shelter

Amanda Jess
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NEW GLASGOW – The Coldest Night of the Year event may have taken place on one of the warmest evenings in winter, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a success.

Vonda, left, and Taylor Hazzard, front, along with Susan Taylor, right, raised more than $3,000 as a part of their five-member team, NS Walkie Talkies. AMANDA JESS – THE NEWS 

Seventy-three people marched through New Glasgow on Saturday night in support of the Life Shelter, after collectively raising more than $13,000 locally.

“I know there’s a lot of people out there that need our help that feel alone,” Susan Taylor, one of the participants, said.

Taylor told people that no donation was too small, including a single toonie.

Through many small donations, she managed to raise more than $1,800, the most by any single person.

Taylor’s five-member team, NS Walkie Talkies, gathered more than $3,000.

Taylor and team captain Vonda Hazzard were in competition with each other to see who could raise the most.

Hazzard wasn’t far behind with more than $1,500.

Another member of the team, Taylor Hazzard, gathered the most for a youth with $210.

“I asked friends, my piano teacher, and teachers,” 10-year-old Taylor said.

The Temperance Street at Brown School student wanted to help people, while having fun.

The team joked that they did a lot of walking and talking to gather the funds, and that’s why they chose their name.

“Pictou County has a lot of nice people willing to give,” Vonda said, adding that the Kinettes donated $500 to her team.

Dawn Peters was one of the volunteers for the event.

She decided to get involved “because it’s the right thing to do.”

Peters said the issues of homelessness are often invisible ones.

“People think it doesn’t happen here, but it happens everywhere.”

She was a part of the event last year as well, and saw the inside of the Life Shelter for the first time then.

When she entered the building, she was overcome with emotion and empathy.

“Shelter is a basic human right, but not everyone has access to it.”

Keith Hazzard, operator of the shelter, echoed a similar statement during the opening ceremony.

“Bad things happen. We live in a world where anything can happen,” he said.

He said the shelter isn’t full every night, and is empty some nights.

However, there’s no doubt in his mind that it’s necessary.

He said one conversation with someone who shows up needing shelter at three in the morning after having a home just a few days ago proves to him that it’s a vital part of the community.

“How easily we could find ourselves in the same position with just a turn in the road,” Mayor Barrie MacMillan said during his remarks at the ceremony.

The national campaign raised more than $2 million for 63 shelters across the country through more than 10,000 walkers.

The fundraising continues until Mar. 14.

On Twitter: @NGNewsAmanda

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