Russell woman spends 50 hours alone in woods for charity

RUSSELL — 2020 is definitely a year that people have had to step out of their comfort zones! For Jill Guindon of Russell, that included doing an “Alone in the Woods” challenge to raise money for charity. The challenge was started by “You Feed Them,” a non-profit organization based in Chesterville, to raise funds for 200 albino children living 24/7 at a public school in a small village in Mwalwigi, Tanzania.

Funds were generously donated to purchase much-needed bed sets, including mattresses, pillows, blankets and mosquito nets. Participants of the challenge must bring only ten items and must spend the time they committed to alone in the woods, no food allowed. Jill made the 50 hours, but said it was definitely harder than she thought it would be. Most of Jill’s time was spent foraging for enough dry wood to get a fire going in the evening.

The cold nights spent under a make-shift tarp shelter (no tent) and the fasting were not the hardest part of the challenge. It was the solitude and monotony that were hard to cope with.
“Believe it or not,” said Jill, “I actually missed doing laundry!”

Below, the letter writer on the final day of her challenge.

The only time she wavered and was unsure she’d make it was when it began raining when she woke up early the first morning. After getting up, however, she re-grouped and pressed on, motivated by the cause she was supporting. Jill was the second participant in the challenge, following Roland Poirier of Chesterville who completed 100 hours at the beginning of November. Others continue to sign up for the challenge — even as the cold and snow of winter approach. Jill’s husband, Sylvain Guindon, will head out this weekend with the goal of spending 50 hours alone in the woods.

Learn more about You Feed Them’s Alone in the Woods challenge at www.youfeedthem.com/events. Participants express thanks to all who have generously given to this event.

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