Five times a week for the past 3 months I've been going for runs. My route usually takes me down Pacific Avenue, along the tracks and past Samaritan House's food bank.
For 3 months, I've been running past a group of homeless people, avoiding eye contact for my own comfort. For THREE MONTHS I have pretended they weren't there. This week, I looked up. An indigenous man (who for some reason reminded me of my dad) looked at his watch (which may or may not have been there) like he was expecting me, then gave me a wave. The guilt I felt and still feel is overwhelming.
Right now, we are all suffering in one way or another. Times are hard. People have lost their jobs, can't buy presents, can't see their family. And we are all LOSING IT! Fair enough. But these people suffer ALL. YEAR. LONG! It makes my heart happy to see people banding together to support the small businesses during this trying time ... but we need to support people ALWAYS!
I debated whether or not I wanted to involve myself in this - I'm busy as heck and let's face it, this small action fixes the guilt that I'm feeling more than it does our homeless issue in Brandon. But this morning on my run, I looked up again to see if that same man was there, and this time, they were all waving.
So today, I'm asking you guys to donate a backpack so that I can fill it with things like warm sock, toques, mitts, underwear, etc and a gift card. I was originally going to do this splitting the cost with a friend, but after some research I found that they have nowhere to keep/carry their donated belongings. I will be looking for 10 backpacks in total.
As a follow up to this story -
I just wanted to let you know that from one facebook post, we raised over $1500 and were able to purchase 40 pairs of socks that are good for up to -40, and over 40 pairs of long underwear, over 10 brand new backpacks and countless donated lightly used items. We are expecting all things to be shipped and handed out within 2 weeks. New, filled backpacks will be given to Brandon Bear Clan to distribute as they deal directly with the group that I've been running by daily, and anything extra will be distributed to the Women's Resource Centre and Samaritan House Ministries.
Written by Stephanie Spence
Additional Note: This story happened in Brandon, Manitoba. But, there are homeless people, and people who need help living in your city too. This is proof again how, yes, one person CAN make a difference!