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Halifax-area woman takes 30-day plunge challenge to raise money for local food bank

Click to play video: 'N.S. woman plunges for Parker Street Food Bank' N.S. woman plunges for Parker Street Food Bank
WATCH: With a Christmas like no other right around the corner, many in our area are looking for unique ways to help those in need. That's especially true for one Halifax-area woman, who's decided to take her fundraiser to the frigid waters. Graeme Benjamin reports – Dec 23, 2020

A volunteer from the Halifax area has found a unique way to raise money and awareness for a non-profit organization in the city, by jumping into the frigid December waters every day of the month.

Kelly Loxdale says in light of all the hardships Nova Scotia has faced this years, she discovered a passion for swimming to help her mental health.

She’s now found a way to combine that hobby with her passion for giving back to help those in need during the holiday season.

“The idea came to me that I can do a challenge with a purpose,” said Loxdale, who lives in Hubley, N.S.

“It’s a great contrast to my relatively short misery, getting into an icy lake, compared to those who can’t turn away from it.”

Read more: Halifax food bank adapting to new procedures, increased demand

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She’s calling the challenge “Swim Kelly Swim,” with a goal of raising money and attention for Parker Street Food Bank’s Christmas Hamper Program.

“It’s a program that helps feed people at Christmas time, there are toys for children,” Loxdale continued, “so my goal was to raise $450 to fund some of those hampers that are going to out to those struggling at the best of times, let alone Christmas coming down on them.”

Parker Street Food Bank estimates their hamper program assists about 2,000 people, and says the funds raised from Loxdale’s initiative are going directly to those in need.

“The hamper has a turkey and all they need to make a delicious, warm Christmas dinner. We also provide toys and gifts for children, and also for seniors,” said Cynthia Louis-Smith, Parker Street Food Bank’s head of donor relations.

“We deliver them, and we delivered over 600 hampers to persons within HRM.”

Click to play video: 'Parker Street hard at work during the holiday season' Parker Street hard at work during the holiday season
Parker Street hard at work during the holiday season – Dec 20, 2019

Louis-Smith commends Loxdale’s, but says others don’t need to go the extreme of diving into a lake if they want to lend a hand.

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“She is bold and brave,” she said. “We really appreciate her taking the initiative to do something like that.”

“Other people can donate, we always need more funds. Also we get more buying power when we go shopping for food items. We are also always in need of volunteers.”

Read more: Halifax soup kitchen in urgent need of volunteers amid COVID-19 pandemic

As for Kelly Loxdale, she says even though she’s met her fundraising goal, she’s going to keep on swimming in order to raise money for the cause.

“They’re an independent food bank, so monetary donations are what really feeds the community through Parker Street.”

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