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Lethbridge woman begins 24-hour-long walk to fundraise for homeless shelter

Kaelee Steele, 24, walks around Chinook Lake to begin her 24-hour-long trek across the city to fundraise for the homeless. Eloise Therien / Global News

On Saturday morning at 11 a.m., Kaelee Steel embarked on the longest walk she’s ever been on, headphones and water in hand.

For the following 24 hours, Steele plans to walk around Lethbridge, only stopping to hang up inspirational posters and use the bathroom in her One Woman Walk for Our Homeless.

“I was one of those kids that did a bunch of walk-a-thons in elementary school, so the idea of walking to fundraise has been normal to me,” Steele said.

Her goal is to raise $100 for every hour she walks, totalling $2,400 for Alpha House, which runs the Lethbridge Stabilization Centre and Shelter.

Read more: Coronavirus: Lethbridge non-profits adapt to fewer donations, volunteers while fundraisers up in the air

Steel said she has had other ideas for fundraising but wanted to make it “COVID-friendly” and spread the idea that having a whole group or community of people isn’t needed to make a difference.

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“I wanted to be able to give back without risking anybody else’s safety,” she said.

The idea was born recently, giving Steele a couple of weeks to prepare, physically and mentally.

“For the last two weeks, I’ve definitely been walking a lot, and I work on my feet on a daily basis, so I’m used to doing like eight to 12 hours,” she said. “It’s just going to be pushing it past that point.”

As for food and other necessities, Steel said friends and family will be meeting her along the way to provide any supplies she might need throughout the endeavour.

“First of all, I thought she was crazy,” said Steel’s coworker Joanne Mueller. “But when you get to know who she is, it’s who she is and it’s what she does.

“When we found out this is what she wanted to do, we were all on board to support her, so we’re just keeping track of her and we’re going to make sure she’s safe while she does this.”

Read more: Amid pandemic, micro-fundraisers grow in popularity in the Okanagan

Steel added she doesn’t have a planned route in an effort to emulate what the homeless population goes through on a daily basis.

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“If you’re experiencing homelessness, you don’t have somewhere to go, and that’s kind of what I’m trying to replicate with this,” explained Steele.

As of 3:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon, the GoFundMe page raised just shy of $1,500. Steele hopes to end her walk at Henderson Lake.