The Concrete Is Always Cold
“The concrete is always cold!” It’s something that stuck with me after hearing it during my time working on the frontlines with Street Outreach Services (S.O.S) – and whether it was the particular individual who shared this ‘street learned wisdom’ with me, or the people I encountered who were living under bridges, in abandoned cars, in makeshift shelters, or in bank vestibules, what they all experienced this time of the year (and especially in the winter) is cold. It wasn’t an inconvenient chill they experienced, it’s the type of cold, they would explain, which “got into their bones;” it’s the kind of cold that meant they weren’t staying healthy for long. And its memories and experiences like these that have me believing in the service TBPL is providing with the Community Care Cupboards funded by United Way Thunder Bay. Vulnerable people living on the streets and people in need can access emergency blankets and dry socks to help them stay warm, or a tarp to keep out rain and snow, or an emergency poncho that also works as a blanket and even a shelter. And they can do so without judgment and without ridicule. And whether it’s these items, or something like a change of underwear, or the warmth provided by a pocket/handwarmer, or the dignity that comes with being able to clean one’s face with a personal wipe or having access to feminine hygiene products, the Community Care Cupboards provide for people. The Community Care Cupboards provide service and security and dignity to people who don’t always have access to ‘items of necessity,’ especially in places like downtown Port Arthur (Waverley Branch) where there isn’t a shelter handing out such items (gloves, hats, socks, feminine hygiene products, etc.) to people in need. And even if we’re not present to see the benefits of what we’re providing, I can rest assured that the Community Care Cupboards – if even in some small way – are making a difference in the lives of people living on the margins of our society.
- James, TBPL Staff