Staying connected with our street community has become more important now than ever before.
Physical distancing, masking, long line-ups. It’s all become the norm.
But in all this ‘distancing’ we’ve also experienced a deep desire to remain connected. We make it happen in whatever circumstance. Dinner over Skype, a birthday ‘drive-in’ celebration, social media, and old-fashioned phone calls, too.
OIM has also adapted. Our services remain compliant with Ottawa Public Health standards with stringent sanitizing, masking, distancing, and other measures. All the while, this still allows us to uphold a core value built into our service model: nurturing one-on-one relationships with our community.
The same applies to our street community. They cherish their connections with us as much as we do, even those who may ‘disappear’ from time to time as they deal with addictions or other personal troubles.
A few months ago, I received a text message from one of our Door Outreach volunteers who wrote: “John [not his real name] wanted you to know that he had 17 days of sobriety.” I had not seen John since our BBQ meal back in September of last year. I wrote back “tell him this is such an accomplishment! I’m so proud.”
Then again, last month, one of our Street Outreach volunteers called me saying that someone special was on the phone and wished to speak with me. It was John. We caught up, as best we could, over the phone.
It was a special conversation for us both.
I continue to be amazed at all the ways God enables us to stay connected; the circumstances He orchestrates to ensure that cherished relationships are not lost and that we continue to find a way through to connect with the people He loves.
~Jelica, Senior Research & Promotions Coordinator