What does Christmas mean to you?
For many, it is yuletide greetings. Christmas trees decorated in living rooms. Houses lit up like National Lampoons Christmas. Time off from work to spend with loved ones. Buying presents.
Amazing turkey dinner with all the fixings.
Going to church to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and practicing your faith?
Or maybe it's being a person of another faith or no faith at all and just celebrating family time together.
Anyway, you look at it. It is a special time of year pretty much all over the world isn't it?
Personally myself I believe in God. But I do not try to convince others of my faith. I also do not attend church for many reasons. HOWEVER, I am pretty sure GOD (if you believe in him) is ok with what our choiceswe make over the holiday season. I would highly doubt you will find an atheist or another faith to disagree how we choose to spend our holidays.
A few years ago my family was without loved ones. As much as we grieved as much as we felt so alone in the world and the loss was heart-wrenching. We still decided to have a nice meal but no tree, no lights and not even any gifts for one another.
My wife and I decided and with my dad's help to pool what money we were going to spend on one another and donate 100% of it towards the homeless.
My wife and I have been helping a homeless fellow by the name if Paul for about 3-4 years now. If you watch my vlogs playlist (Be Inspired), You will see Paul and or his story. For those who haven't. He is now mid 70's. Homeless. Sleeps in the cold. Makes his own shelters until the city finds them. He has no habits And works for his money. He doesn't beg or steal and 99% of the time turns down help when we offer.
My wife came up with the brilliant plan to make HOPE bags. If you read this blog you know already but for those who haven't they consist of Hat, gloves, socks, toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, water, granola bars(peanut free), personal wipes, soap, band-aids, pudding, applesauce, comb/brush, feminine hygiene products for ladies, and a $5 Tim Hortons card.
I personally hate donating money to some charity where a CEO makes million dollars and 5cents from every dollar is going to where 95 cents should. This way the care packages are 100% utilized.
People get immediate help. And for the homeless. usually, food and shelter is the first line of defense. The other items are usually last on the list. It is so hard to comprehend my disease and pain being homeless. No medicine cabinet. No washroom, No one to comfort you in pain. I can't even imagine. Now be the mid 70s and sleep in the snow? This week, as I write these temps, are -22 celsius.
So we have been doing this for a few years now. I made some YouTube videos and I get thanked and I really do NOT want to hear it. In fact, I feel guilty we can't do more. I don't want to hear how great what we do is. The best thing I have heard for a comment is that they said they were doing the same.
Those people were inspired to help others. To me, that is the reward. Seeing people get help. Getting others proactive.
I make these videos for 2 reasons. 1 to show people it could happen to them. That for starters it is not always drugs and alcohol that got them there. it may be for some. I got sick at age 33. It could have happened to me if it wasn't for smart planning, A loving family and accepting what happened.
Many lose their jobs, homes, marriages. get injured on the job, perhaps being self-employed with no benefits. I can personally vouch that disability does not pay well.
Many people who fall homeless are the result of the problem. Not the cause of the problem.
If you have seen what I see it would break your heart. It is not like in the movies where they are sleeping on a park bench, Under a palm tree when its a low of plus15 Celcius overnight. This is Canada and it gets COLD.
There is facilities, such as the Mission, Sally Ann Centre of Hope. etc. But sometimes they are over full. Many are left in the cold due to hospital wings closing and the people with mental health issues are not getting the care they need by a dr. And thus resulting in self-medicating. My wife is Bi-Polar and relies on the fact she has to have medication for life. And to think these people are homeless. It is quite heartbreaking.
This VLOG today isn't a sob story guilting anyone to feeling sorry for the homeless. If anything I want you to think. For starters, they are someones, someone. Someone's child. friend, former co-worker, neighbour. They are people. cold and hungry. Some requiring medication. Some needed more help then I can personally give. And many lose hope.
The HOPE bags we make does not change their life but gives them hope for humanity when many have turned away. I do not want to hear thank you or hear what a nice thing we did. I would rather hear you get involved. It could be your son or daughter out there.
The homeless problem is year round. I encourage you to make some hope bags, throw them in the trunk of your car and when you see someone in need. Just give it to them. You may have just saved their life.
You don't have to be Christian or of any faith to do this at Christmas. Ya basically just don't have to be an asshole and help someone today, Not being an asshole doesn't require faith or non-faith. It requires compassion and empathy.
Please, share this blog and especially this VLOG below. Inspire others to help. Thank you.
(for Homeless at Christmas VLOG)