With the change in seasons and the warmer weather we see more and more people out and about on the streets of downtown Ottawa. As the late Robin Williams said – “Spring is nature's way of saying, 'Let's party!'” For me, the new life and growth of spring always brings hope, and as we enter the second year of the pandemic, hope is needed more than ever.
One thing that brings me encouragement is the accelerating vaccine campaign underway in Ottawa. As a street outreach volunteer with OIM, my wife and I were grateful to have the privilege of getting the first shot of our COVID-19 vaccine in March. Now when we serve the homeless on the streets we feel that shot provides added protection against the virus, giving us extra confidence to pursue this needed mission of being a front-line street outreach worker. We continue to take every suggested precaution by masking and distancing, but the vaccine takes away some of the anxiety and uncertainty associated with our interactions with the public.
Even as COVID cases surge in Ottawa, the promise of more vaccines being made available in 80+ pharmacies across the city makes me hopeful that most homeless people will be able to take advantage of the chance to get vaccinated.
We’re looking forward to the day when we can resume interacting with people on the street in a more personal way, with a handshake or a prayer of blessing with heads bowed together. Spring is here, which means summer is not far behind!
~Warren, Events Coordinator