I was walking home from work yesterday and had to take a second glance at one of the youth that was panhandling on the streets of Ottawa. I know in theory that these people live on the streets, have nothing and have to beg for money as a way for survival but until this moment it never became as real as it did yesterday. This young man was probably in his mid to late 20’s and just sitting there minding his own business with a cup in front of him on the ground. He was not bothering people, yelling at them or even begging them but simply sitting there trying to get a little money and hoping that people would be kind enough to donate.
When you see all these men and women at the drop in or stop-ins each week it almost becomes easy to forget that they actually have nothing and many live on the streets. You see them all the time but until I saw this young man on the streets it never hit me like it did then. This is there reality, a constant fight for survival not knowing if they will be able to eat that day or even make it to the end. Many of them live with addictions that have completely taken over their lives while others live in absolute depression that hits them so hard they don’t even want to live. The only thing I can think to myself is, how can we impact this person’s life to bring even a glimpse hope to what seems to be a hopeless situation?
Written by Samara, OIM employee