As the weather turns cooler, I’m grateful that I can just turn the thermostat up and be sure that I will be (for the most part) warm. I can’t help but think of those who don’t have this luxury.
I’ve been occasionally motivated by the odd feeling of kindness to put a pair of dollar store gloves or a small blanket in the back of my car so that I can give them to a person without anything on their hands in freezing weather. This winter I’m going to have a more organized approach and keep several pairs of gloves, baby blankets, and dog food handy in case I run into someone in need.
It’s easy to grow weary of the homeless when we find excrement in our back alleys and garbage bags torn open and garbage strewn about. But maybe this same pattern of behaviour is what made them homeless to begin with. So then how did they get there? I always say that everyone gets to be who they are by honest means. Some people have suffered such unspeakable abuse in their formative years that the damage can’t be undone. I would like to see my fellow residents make an effort to remember to have some compassion for those who have less.
I also think about the furry and feathered creatures out there. I put out bird food (thanks to my neighbours for putting up with the bird poop). I put out peanuts and maintain heated water bowls.
I understand that many people can only provide for themselves. I remember what it was like to struggle to live on rice and macaroni. But if you have a few dollars to spare, and hoping that you have more, please consider sharing your good fortune with others. Keep a few toonies in your pocket, give your empties to people collecting in the alleys or consider donating to the local help organizations.
Manon is a resident of Boyle Street and an active volunteer in the community. This column contains her own opinions, and is not affiliated with the Boyle Street Community League.