Community Ending Homelessness
by emilyboiteux on May 15, 2017 - 12:45pm
This my experience of helping the homeless and why our population needs to find a way to end homelessness. During the winter, I had noticed an increasing percentage of homeless people sleeping in relatively public spaces to stay warm. I once even noticed 15 people sleeping on the stairs of the Bonaventure metro station due to the weather outside being so cold. When I looked at those people I was stunned. These people slept in such a way that they looked dead. The people who were sleeping on the floor were young and did not deserve to be living in such horrible conditions. People are homeless due to high increasing of prices of homes and renting homes. “When will poverty no longer exist in Canada?” focused on children and poverty and how there has been an increasing in child poverty in Canada, people are unware of the growing average of children who are experiencing homelessness, 1 out of 7 children in Canada are experiencing homelessness which could lead them to suffer from mental illnesses later in their lives.
“Homelessness and Youth: How Volunteering at Sisters of Charity can help the problem explained” focused on homeless shelters in Montreal decreasing, I wanted to focus on helping at a homeless organization in Montreal to see up close the homeless community and those who are trying to help them. I volunteered at the Sisters of Charity. This is an organization run by the Grey Nuns of Montreal who spend each day going around the streets of Montreal giving the homeless community food and drinks for the day. They also offer a food bank during the evenings where homeless people are allowed to come in, sit down, and have a proper meal. The Grey Nuns of Montreal mission since its started in 1737 is to send “love, respect, and compassion for poor and deprived people as it was defined by their Foundress, Saint Marguerite d’Youville.”
Children are born with a sense of compassion but when we are older we lose touch of being compassionate to others due to feeling judged (Seppälä). If children are aware of the homeless community from a young age they may want to help them even more once they have grown. I had asked the children I was bringing with me who were varying from the ages of 6, 8, and 12 years old their thoughts about the homeless community. Each child that I spoke to had a different viewpoint on who the homeless community are. I asked both girls what they knew about homelessness. The 8 and 6-year-old girls explained to me “they are people who don’t have any food and they go to Sisters of Charity to eat one meal per day.” After volunteering I had also asked the children who volunteered with me their thoughts on helping at the Sisters of Charity. I had asked the 6-year-old girl how she felt after volunteering at the homeless organization and she told me “I feel happy because the sisters were really nice.” I had also asked the 6-year-old girl if more children her age should volunteer which she simply replied with “yes because it’s fun.” I had asked her 8 year-old sister the same questions which she replied with “happy because I get to help other people.” When I asked her if children her age should volunteer she replied with “they should volunteer at the same place because the sisters are really nice and because they help out the homeless people a lot.”
Volunteering at the Sisters of Charity means that you have a lot of chores to do. When I first arrived at the Sisters of Charity with the 3 children the nuns immediately had jobs for each of us to do. The organization is a very organized by 3:15 when we arrived we had to begin to prepare the meals for the homeless people who were going to arrive. Since I was the eldest volunteering I had the job of cutting the food that were going to be serving that night. The younger children had the job of washing all the fruits and vegetables and to set the table. By 5:00 the food was ready to be served and the room was packed to the fullest to the point where we had to turn some homeless people away because there just wasn’t enough room for them to be seated. It was a bitter sweet moment seeing all the homeless people sitting together because you feel virtuous serving these people but you wish you could do more to help them. Also, it was difficult seeing the different ages of people using these services. Some of the homeless people were very old and should have been enjoying retirement than not having a home. Other people at the homeless organization looked young enough to be in school. After serving the meals we then had to clean up. Some of the homeless people decided to stay and help us. I had asked one of the homeless people who were using our services on how they felt about having young children serving them food volunteering at the Sisters of Charity. He replied with “I am so grateful for your services and the sister’s services you have no idea how much this mean
Volunteering at the Sisters of Charity gives a broader perspective of those who are affected by homelessness. In a 2015 article posted by CBC called “Montreal Homelessness Count finds 3,016 Homeless People in City.” The article demonstrates some of the statistics of the Montreal about the homeless community. In Montreal 3,016 people are homeless. Not everyone of these people will get the care that they deserve. From my experience alone there were too many people needing food and yet we didn’t have enough food to serve them all. Homelessness is on the rise and it is time for our community to work together to try to end it by either helping at a homeless shelter or donating money to organizations like the Salvations Army, a small gesture can make a big difference
Seppälä, Emma M. “Compassion: Our first instinct”. Psychology Today, 3 Jun. 2013, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/feeling-it/201306/compassion-our-first-instinct. Accessed 1 May 2017.