I have been thinking about the homeless a lot lately. It has been freezing cold here in Montreal, and when this type of weather hits, my mind always wanders to those sleeping on the streets, to crowded shelters and to the injustices of life. It’s heartbreaking.
I decided I wanted to do something about it. I went through my closet this weekend, and put together a pile of about 6 old winter coats. My husband, my boys and I ran them downtown to give them out to those living on the streets without warm coats. I was basically just doing what I could…
I got a few comments like, “Why don’t you give them to Mada?” (a local Jewish organization). And others like, “Why not give them to families you know that are in need instead of to homeless people you don’t know?”
And the answer goes like this: I support Mada all the time and constantly run over old clothes to donate. Why I chose to help those on the streets, is because they are so often forgotten. Most of these people don’t end up on the street because they are “too lazy” to work. Circumstances put them on the streets. Tough, devastating, unfathomable circumstances. These circumstances often put them on the streets at a young age, and sometimes it’s just too difficult to pick themselves up from the darkness. Not everyone is fortunate enough to be loved, nurtured and encouraged to shine. These “forgotten” people deserve some love and warmth this holiday season, and despite not knowing them, I did in fact put a face to every single coat I gave out.
I went looking in banks, metro stations, on street corners, for those individuals who could use them, asking them, “Do you need a warm coat?” One answered, “We can use everything.” And on another street corner in downtown Montreal, I got rid of 4 coats in one fell swoop. Literally, 4 men chased me to the point of being scared. They just wanted to make sure I had enough coats to give out.
So, my point today is, we can all help someone. We can all do SOMETHING – even if it is ONE coat. It felt wonderful to help, and I have gone through my closet and organized a few more bags to give away. I intend on returning to give more. I don’t know why for me, I identify with the homeless man and woman. I think it’s because I believe in second chances. I think we all deserve a second chance. Life can be hard.