Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Homelessness - What can we do?

So Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014 was Giving Tuesday - “a new Canadian movement for giving and volunteering, taking place each year after Cyber Monday. The “opening day of the giving season,” it is a day where charities, companies and individuals join together to share commitments, rally for favourite causes and think about others.” 
This time of year is always a significant time to participate in the BIGGER sense of gift giving, as young people anticipate the upcoming holiday.

According to a recent CTV video, new numbers from the homeless count show there are more youth and families without a home.  Of the 2200+ homeless in Edmonton, there are 17% more youth and 25% more families on the street since last year.


So what can we do?

Report what you see.  The Edmonton Journal, Nov. 10, 2014 feature on “Call 211 for homeless in distress describes how the system works.   “Calling 211 will connect to the Bissell Centre’s 24/7 mobile team, allowing staff to help without unnecessarily involving police or emergency services. The staff can give out warm clothes and help people living on the street reach long-term help.”

In December, it is a tradition of the Provincial Team to collects goods for those less fortunate, from turkeys for the Food Bank to clothing for the Bissell Centre.   This year, a call to the Bissell Centre in Edmonton revealed a high need for baby formula and larger sized disposable diapers.  As well, they always need a large supply of men’s dark toques, gloves, socks and new underwear.

We know the spirit of giving is alive and well in all schools in Alberta. In your school or class, you may already be collecting for a cause that you value.  If you are a greater Edmonton based school, the Bissell list may help.  If you are looking for opportunities to give locally, contact your local support agencies (Salvation Army, Mustard Seed, Hope Mission, or churches for example).

If you are considering teaching a lesson or unit on homelessness, the Homeless Hub website has some excellent teacher and student resources for all grade levels.   

In teaching and reaching out with your students you make an impact on building that spirit of giving.

“As we work to create light for others, we naturally light our own way.”
[Mary Anne Radmacher]