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Homeless Connect Edmonton

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  • Homeless Connect Edmonton

    Do you take your home, job, new clothes, food, and everyday utilities for granted?

    After my experience on Sunday, May 24, I realized I shouldn't. Homeless people from all over Edmonton gathered at the Shaw Conference Center to receive things that we are used to having. Though we waste our food, someone will go to bed without a meal. But what do most of us care? We always have a comfy bed, all the food we want, gadgets, toys, and a warm house. It's time that we all realized that those people could be us. Smiling as you walk by to show that you acknowledge them could make their day. Too many times, we walk by as if they are invisible. But even though they don't have homes and they aren't always clean doesn't mean they aren't people. On May 24, over 250 volunteers showed they could look past those differences and help the homeless.

    All day, those volunteers worked alongside lawyers, doctors, dentists, hair stylists, cooks, and others to bring happiness and hope to the homeless. The huge room was filled with booths and stations for dental care, hair cuts, clothes, books, legal work, counseling, addiction services, tables to eat at, gym mats with curtains around them to serve as a resting and detox center. Many of the volunteers were centered at the registering area. The homeless would walk through the line and sit down across from the volunteers at the tables. Then the volunteers would ask them questions and fill out a form. When the form had been completed and the client given their 'gift bags', which included many items you would find in your bathroom as well as snacks and a few other things, they would be taken by the waiting guides and shown around the hall. When lunch time came, the tables were packed with hungry people. Cooks handed out Styrofoam bowls full of pasta and meat sauce and a bun, as well as an apple or an orange. After the rush had died down, volunteers spread out to talk with the guests. The homeless continued to pour in, and the filled forms were picked up and counted. Then the Speaker's Corner started. A few of the volunteers and some of the homeless were invited to tell why they were here and a few other things about their day. Those interviews are to be put up on the organization's website. By the end of the day 1033 forms had been collected and 1033 smiles counted. Many of the volunteers agreed that the best part of the day was seeing the smiles on people's faces after receiving the services.

    The experience of this event was amazing and me and my family have plans to go to the next one, which will be held on October 4, 2009. This event was a big project, and put together by many people, but you can always make a difference, whether it's just you or it's a group of friends or family. Donating gently used furniture, clothes and books as well as food to your local shelter is one of the many things you can do. It's time for the new generation to become involved, as many of the youth don't volunteer. Help out anywhere you can, whether it's around the house, or around the community. Together, we can make a difference.

    -- Hannah Hunter
    Age 12
    Ministik Elementary