Moncton woman runs marathon to raise money for farm retreat for the homeless

Click to play video: 'Moncton’s Humanity Project to build homes'
Moncton’s Humanity Project to build homes
WATCH: The organization has bought a piece of land in nearby Elgin, where it plans to build homes and support people who are trying to overcome substance abuse. Shelley Steeves has more. – Sep 17, 2020

A Moncton woman is lacing up her sneakers to help support a major project to help the homeless in and around Greater Moncton, N.B.

“It is amazing and it is a game-changer and it is nothing like we have ever seen before in our province,” said Amy Pidt, who plans to run a 50-kilometer marathon in October to raise funds for The Humanity Project’s new farm retreat.

Read more: As coronavirus eviction bans end, advocates worry homelessness will rise

According to founder Charles Burrell, The Humanity Project has purchased a 180-acre property in Elgin, New Brunswick where it plans to build tiny homes and open a rehabilitation and reintegration retreat for people who are homeless and or recovering from addiction.

“We are going to clear some trees and put tiny homes for people to live in,” said Burrell.

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He said The Humanity Project bought the farm just this week with the help of anonymous donors.

Read more: Concerns over homelessness rates in Moncton growing amid COVID-19

The group has spent the last several years feeding the homeless in Moncton and Burrell said they launched the project because limited rehabilitation supports in the city are keeping people in the cycle of drug addiction and homelessness due also in part to a lack of affordable housing.

“In the city, they are short-term programs and when they get out they are left to go back into either the shelter system or back on that bench you were sleeping on and you are around people you used to use with so we are literally setting people up for failure,” he said.

Burrell said people will be able to live at the farm after going through rehab where they can learn how to grow and cook their own food and get their lives back on track.

“They could be here for six months to a year, possibly even longer depending on what that person wants to set as goals,” he said. “I already have a long list of people who tell me they would love to come out here.”

Click to play video: 'Concerns over homelessness rates in Moncton growing amid COVID-19'
Concerns over homelessness rates in Moncton growing amid COVID-19

Pidt, who had a history of substance abuse in her youth and has struggled with mental illness, said the road to recovery is a long one. She finds peace in running and in volunteering for The Humanity Project, which is why she plans to run the 50 kilometers in October — to raise funds to renovate the property in time for its first tenants next spring.

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“It is in those darkest times that you sometimes find help in helping others,” she said.

According to the group’s Facebook page, donations can be made through the group’s website, through e-transfer, or dropped off in-person at the following locations:

  • Maritime Hydraulic Repair Center – 270 Macnaughton Ave., Moncton
  • Goodlife Fitness Center – 175 Ivan Rand Dr. E., Moncton
  • The Humanity Project – 449 St. George St., Moncton

Pidt’s fundraiser, The Humanity Project Run for Change, takes place on Oct. 17. Her run will go from The Humanity Project location in Moncton to Aboiteau Wharf in Cap-Pelé, N.B.

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