March winds blow, or it pours rain, minus 30 with the wind chill – or any combination thereof. Only in Canada, eh?
We can look forward to spring, but it seems a long time coming.
No less for our street friends – not that’s the understatement of the year.
Christmas is a time typically when there is a generous outpouring of love and generosity to those on the streets and we are thankful for this. But what about after Christmas?
Maybe we don’t think about it all that much, but the winter is a misery when you are on the move all the time, with no place to rest your usually wet, cold, freezing feet. The laundromat is usually a good place, but it is often the case that the proprietors of the same are on the lookout for people who don’t wash their clothes. The laundromat just beside our offfice entance is a good example. It is common for the police to be called to this place, because some of Ottawa’s homeless population need a warm place.
In extreme cold -whatever that is- I guess it depends on whether or not you are in the cold all the time . Street-engaged people are herded up and forced to go ‘inside’ (not the Chateau Laurier). This experience can be worse that staying outside, because it is yet another violation of their persons (the force that can accompany can be excessive) – there are reasons why people cannot access services.
I guess I’m painting a pretty dark, bleak picture. A bit negative, eh? But it is what it is – I’m pretty sure about that.
What then? Well, don’t forget about those on the streets, even when the weather has some degree of improvement: the nights are still very cold.
Why not think about doing something about this problem? You could contact one of the local agencies in your city and volunteer to do something. Maybe you could give something – time, talents or money. Stop and talk to someone you pass who is panhandling on the streets: you would be surprised how ‘invisible’ someone can become as soon as they sit on a curb with a ball cap and ask for money. Give or not, it’s up to you, but you need to see that this is a real person, with a real story, he/she is where she is, not from choice, but from a cascade of trouble that they could do nothing to change (it usually begins with childhood abuse – how can we hold someone responsible for that?)
Give some change if you like – better a bill. Once you give, forget about what will happen to it. We hold people so very responsible for so little, when we are so careless with the treasures with which we have been blessed.
One thing for sure: we really can’t do nothing about this. In our affluence, remember the poor.
Make a difference. Go out there and change your world.