Before you even remotely think this is about us, it is not. Its about them, the homeless. It doesn't matter why they are there. Just that we help them.
In no way shape or form do we want any credit for what we done. Nothing-please.
This year was the worst year of my life. Not because of headaches which have been really bad this past month. But we lost my mom, my dog and my son is no longer speaking to me for whatever reason he wont say. The house is extremely empty. My wife and I are taking care of my father.
With the recent loss in our life. Which I am now grieving finally about. We chose to skip Christmas this year. No tree, no gifts, nothing. We had a meal but we have to eat anyway.
My wife and I talked it over and we got dad involved and decided once again to help the homeless but this year on a bit grander scale than we normally do.
We pooled out Christmas money together and made "care packages" for 13 homeless people. Consisting of hat, gloves, tooth paste, toothbrush, band aids, q tips, body wipes, soap, water, granola bars, and $5 Tim Horton's card for a coffee and sandwich. It wasn't much but spread out over that many bags it added up.
Wrapped it all up and pit in recyclable grocery bags.
Christmas Eve, my family as Germans celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve with presents etc and dinner and Christmas Day just a family meal. So my wife and I loaded the car up and went looking for people in need.
We know about this one guy in his 70's who lives fairly close by. Many times my wife and I have stopped and offered to buy him a meal and he always say no thank you and goes about his way. He in every sense of the word is homeless and not in a mission. His shoes don't match, has no socks, his pants are frayed about a foot up. Wears a jacket that doesn't fit, with a women's scarf as a belt. He has about 3 teeth and longer hair. I have never once seen him pan handle near stores we shop for food by.
I have seen other pan handlers say they are hungry and later in the day you see them in the store buying booze. I have never been the type to give money. If you are hungry. Let me buy you food if I can.
So my wife and I had a rough idea where he might live in the bush. So we drove buy and found him. Another man came out of this make shift tent where he lays his head at night. Tarps covering layer after layer to prevent rain and snow. Leaves packed in the sides. About 3-4 ft high and about the size of a 4 person tent. A few cans of empty peas etc lay on the ground. But not much garbage. A fishing pole. And that was it. I walked up while my wife stayed in the car and gave them a bag each. Neither looked inside the bags and I wished them a Merry Christmas and God Bless them. That graciously said thank you very much, wishes me a Merry Christmas too, The one seemed reluctant at first but took it after I gave it to him. Both were filthy. Probably not had any shower for a long time. I turned back around and said to the taller one do you need a winter jacket? No, no I am fine thank you. The other man in his mid 20's said I am cold yes. And it was 8 c when we spoke. We walked to the car. I gave him a winter jacket. He said.It going to get cold. I hope dad lets me back in. And that was that.
It was very hard seeing human beings living like this in the greatest country in the world. A country with free health care,schools, clean drinking water out of any tap. It was hard. My wife or I didn't give a rats behind why they were there. Just that we could help them,
As many thousands of headache attacks I have had the majority are now in my bed. A warm bed with fluffy pillows and blankets, roof over my head, food in the fridge. What if they were sick? Had a headache? A cold? flu? There is no medicine cabinet, no fridge, Nothing.
Once we left we drove downtown, checking bridges etc. With no luck. We pulled into the mission and found 4/5 people hanging outside. Many of them if not all of them with mental challenges which was more than obvious in their behavior. I handed out 5 bags. 1 declined. I said give it to someone who needs it. He said ok. We then drove over to the Sally Ann and found some sitting outside. I then proceeded to give 5 more out. And we left.
My wife and I did NOT do this for any sort of praise or acclimation. Despite the hardships my family has endured this year and I am going on record stating the worst year of my life. I will say there is absolutely no reason to ruin other peoples Christmas because of our short comings.
We didn't do it to feel good.In fact. we feel quite worse.....
Christmas Day my wife spent the day cooking a Turkey. Her first and one of the best I had ever eaten, My mothers ern sitting on the table with us for both meals made it very hard not to cry. Ok I cried. Because we miss the people we love. We barely spoke and I am mentally just not ready to reminisce just yet. Its only been 3 months since moms passing. My mom was the first to open her wallet to ANYONE for ANY REASON without question. Even if she was duped. She was not NAIVE. She had NOTHING as a kid, hiding from the Nazis. One sibling dying from hungry as they hid in the basement for weeks. My mom having 1 bath a week sharing the same bath with 12 brothers and sister. Only having a loaf of bread to survive. Yes. She had nothing and knew what it was like so she gave every single chance she could.
My wife and I talked it over and since there was only 3 of us for dinner, we had left overs. How could I possibly sit in a warm home knowing with my own eyes these two fellows (and I am sure many more across the city and this country) are going to bed hungry? My wife and I made 2 large tin foil plates full of food and bottles of water. And brought them over. By this time it was 1 degree Celsius.
We have had a reasonably mild winter here but still its 1c. So I walked over to their camp, started yelling it was me. The older fellow came out and apologized for the other one being sick. I said here is a turkey dinner my wife prepared for you. He opened the tarp. I see layer upon layer on layer of blankets. At least 10-15. I see a head pop put from under the covers with a toque and a Hey how are you? Sorry I am not feeling well. Well sir, Here is a meal maybe that will help you. I have him the bag full of food with cutlery and plates and water. The older man said thank you and looked at me and said " We have room for 3 if you need a place to stay".
I got back to the car and my wife was asking what happened. I cried.
No one in this country let alone in the world should ever go to bed cold and or hungry.
I am so blessed to be able to have what I have and help those who need it.
I will delete any comments thanking us for what we did. I do not want to hear it. I hope this blog today has inspired you if anything to help others. It doesn't matter why they are there. Just that we help them YEAR ROUND.