April 19th, 2024

Volunteers giving help to people on the street

By Ian Martens on January 30, 2021.

Herald photo by Ian Martens Angelica Mcnee, along with a group of volunteers from MyCityCare, hands out bags containing hygiene items, lunches and warm socks and mittens to people living in Galt Gardens. @IMartensHerald

LETHBRIDGE HERALDimartens@lethbridgeherald.com

As winter weather again begins to tighten its hold and many take for granted a warm place to sleep, a group of volunteers from MyCityCare venture out into the cold to offer a little warmth and hope to those living on the streets of Lethbridge.
The group spent their time handing out hygiene kits, along with lunches, socks, toques and mittens, to those huddled among belongings and under piles of blankets at Galt Gardens or those making their way through the downtown streets.
The weekly initiative stems from a project of Not4Sale, a program within the MyCityCare network which aims to help exploited women and children, though with the current chilly temperatures the offering is made available to anyone in need – men and women.
“We wanted to included everybody because we realize that this is not just women that are suffering out there that are cold,” said coordinator Angelica Mcnee.
The aim, she’s says, is to build connections to help individuals find the resources and supports they need.
“To that end, MyCityCare partners with other agencies, such as the Lethbridge Food Bank.
“When they have the proper supports there’s more of a chance of them coming out of that type of lifestyle or finding the right resources. We want to be able to connect them to those resources.”
For Marcel Rides At The Door and his friend Barry Long Time Squirrel, who each received a care bag from the group as they walked along 5th Street, the gesture was appreciated at a time when they say support is hard to come by.
“I’m grateful having help,” said Rides At The Door, who indicates resources right now aren’t alway easy to access.
“I don’t know where to look for support. The information’s not there because of COVID, it’s very restricted. So everything’s online.”
Despite not having a place to call home and describing his day-to-day as an effort of “pure survival,” the two say they try to remain in a positive space.
“You can’t get depressed. If you do then you get in trouble. When people get desperate, they do desperate things. But we don’t push ourselves there.”
Along with trying to help meet basic needs, McNee echoes the need for hope.
“My heart really goes out to these individuals because I think, reality is, just a couple of choices away that may have been where I could have ended up, or whoever, we could have all ended up there in one form or another,” she said.
When I see these individuals, that’s someone’s mom, that’s someone’s grandma, that’s someone’s dad, that’s someone’s brother. And I don’t want to just stand back and do nothing about this, I actually want to be an active part in making our community better and that means reaching the most vulnerable.
More information on MyCityCare can be found at the website at myvictory.ca/mycitycare/

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pursuit diver

I love the compassion by people that show they care for the less fortunate in the city and it is refreshing to know the in a world that is fracturing, there are still some kind people.
BUT . . . we need to concentrate the resources to help these people get off the streets. Many have addiction issues and will never hit bottom to reach for help with all the services we now provide.
We have a soup kitchen, providing 3 meals a day that are better than what the average senior or many people can afford to eat.
We have 2 food banks, the shelter/often hotels are used in winter/COVID.
There are several groups that roam the streets at night, handing out food/drinks/clothing to the people that choose to be on the streets.
We have organizations that offer free clothes, including shoes/boots.
The services that offer all this free, supply them with more than most seniors on a their meager budgets.
We are not helping them by doing this, even though it is a fantastic effort!
Also, I watched the news of some in the park, recognizing 3 known drug dealers, many do not want to follow the rules required to stay in government funded homes or shelters and they do not want anyone telling them they have to act respectfully or follow rules, including ending vandalism, violence or illegal drug use!
Many need to be charged and ‘rehabilitated’ while others need mental health or addiction treatment programs that are effectively employed.
We allowed this to balloon in our community, with Council not wanting to step on toes, for the sake of RECONCILIATION! Our city has been plundered and pillaged by many of the 150 people that have cost this city over $30 million in the past 2 years and we need to start realizing that true reconciliation is forgiving and FORGETTING the past and move forward UNITED!
Police need to get tough on the dealers instead of saying ” there is nothing we can do about it ” when they are called!!!!!! If they can’t stop them who is supposed???
Do the downtown businesses have to hire it’s own police force to police downtown???? We are tired of all of this BS!!!!!!!
The municipla election cannot come too soon!!! We need to retire most of the sitting Council!!!

Last edited 3 years ago by pursuit diver