Swim, Kelly, swim: Hubley woman on 30-day challenge for charity
Kelly Loxdale’s goal is to raise money to feed three families this Christmas
December 9, 2020, 3:38 pm ASTLast Updated: December 9, 2020, 3:38 pm
Early on a chilly December morning, Kelly Loxdale braves the icy cold water of Frederick Lake, preparing for a shock to her system.
She jumps from a rock. No goggles. No swimming cap. No wetsuit. No hesitation. Just Loxdale and the five-degree lake water.
For 30 straight days, Loxdale is dipping her toes into the wintry abyss of her backyard lake to raise money for three large Christmas hampers for local families in need.
Loxdale is posting a recap of every swim on her Facebook page, where she directs her audience to a donation link to the Parker Street Food and Furniture Bank.
“My goal is to get us to think beyond ourselves and to think of others, to get my family and friends to think about who their community is and who is their neighbour, especially at Christmas time,” Loxdale said.
Loxdale’s mission is to complete all 30 swims by Jan. 1.
Loxdale started swimming in Frederick Lake towards the end of the summer. Her mental well-being took a hit this year, said Loxdale, particularly due to the pandemic and tragedy that rolled over Nova Scotia in the spring.
“It was feeling kind of tough, so I started swimming in the lake, which was helping,” she said.
The first time Loxdale decided to push herself to swim every day for an entire month was on Sept. 30, the day she turned 60. She continued to swim off and on throughout November, and with December quickly approaching, determined it was time for a new challenge.
This idea to swim in the winter snowballed into Loxdale thinking about how to “have a challenge with a purpose” and bring awareness to food and housing insecurity.
“I may be uncomfortable, but it’s nothing compared to (what) people face if they’re trying to figure out how to pay for their heating or their food or their rent,” Loxdale said. “My uncomfortableness is nothing compared to that.”
Loxdale realizes that she has the privilege of going back inside a warm house, running a hot shower, grabbing a snack from the refrigerator and heating up a kettle after her brisk morning swims. Many people in Halifax do not.
Parker Street is a charity that Loxdale and her husband Ray, the organization’s volunteer general manager, have supported for the past five years.
“I have a closer look at what’s going on, the people they’re serving and the needs that Parker Street has and the needs in the community,” Loxdale said. “I picked Parker Street because it is so close to our hearts right now and the needs are great.”
Parker Street has been serving low-income families in Halifax Regional Municipality since 1983 and handing out Christmas dinners and toys for more than 30 years. This year, the organization is scheduled to deliver 750 Christmas hampers containing everything necessary for a delicious Christmas dinner and age specific toys or gift cards.
Because of the logistics involved with safe distribution, Parker Street had to set a limit of 750 hampers to ensure that their volunteer group could safely deliver the hampers to people’s doorsteps, Ray Loxdale explained in an email.
Loxdale has already met her monetary goal of $450, or the price of three large hampers, and everything else that she manages to raise is just the gravy on top. She is still determined to continue raising donations through her daily swims.
Loxdale said she hopes that her challenge will inspire people to think about those in need this holiday season and to donate to a local charity of their choice.
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