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Walking in the cold to help the less fortunate

By Mallory Day [1]

BELLEVILLE – Local residents are invited to walk in the winter cold next month to raise money for an organization that helps the hungry and homeless.

Coldest Night of the Year [2] is organized by Nightlight Canada [3], which runs drop-in centres in Belleville and Kingston for the homeless and others to gather and seek help. Nightlight Belleville [4] event co-ordinator Amberly White said approximately 250 people come through the drop-in centre each week.

White said the walk takes place at the same time every year. This will the fourth time it has been held in Belleville.

“It’s the third weekend of February because traditionally that’s the coldest time of the year,” said White. “Although the last three years we’ve run this it’s been really nice weather.”

Participants can choose a two-, five- or 10-kilometre route around Belleville. All the start and finish lines are located at Victoria Avenue Baptist Church [5], at the corner of Victoria Avenue and Pinnacle Street. Sandra Donnan, a participant for two years said she loves doing the walk because of the people they’re helping.

“I want to raise awareness for what’s going on in downtown Belleville and the people there,” said Donnan.

This year’s goal is to have more participants, more sponsors and more funds raised than last year, White said.

“So far we’ve had 21 walkers sign up,” she said. “This event is definitely one where people sign up last minute, so we’re anticipating 100 participants.”

She’d like to get more businesses involved as sponsors, she said, calling it a good advertising and team-building opportunity.

The event takes place on  Saturday, Feb. 25.