Discover the stories & hopes of Victoria’s homeless this season
November 27, 2012 – Steel-toed boots, nail polish, “Eclipse” on DVD and thermal underwear – this is a small cross-section of the past wish lists of Victoria’s shelter residents. When asked, “What would you like for Christmas?”, most homeless are simply overwhelmed that someone cares enough to even pose the question. Yet this season, volunteers are doing just that, and posting the results at www.homelesspartners.com.
Working with the Cool Aid Society, members of theShelbourne Street Church of Christ are meeting with residents at three local shelters, and asking them to share their stories, and their hopes. Whether it’s the equipment needed to get a job, a small luxury to make things feel normal again (however briefly), a gift for an estranged teenage daughter, or another layer to keep out the cold, all of these wish list items have the power to make someone’s Christmas special. In fact, just the knowledge that people care enough to read their stories and think about them, has a huge impact on the interviewees. By going to the website and perusing the biographies and wish lists, Victorians have the opportunity to learn more about the individuals living on our streets, how they got there, and what a big difference something small can make.
“The hope is that we can show the homeless that they are not invisible, that they are cared for,” says Jennie Keeran, co-founder of the Homeless Partners Christmas Wish List program. “It also allows the public to see that the homeless are not nameless or faceless, nor are they an issue. They are individuals with different personalities and histories, that can be helped through creating this connection.” Since 2005, this non-profit program has brought thousands of gifts to the less fortunate, and connected and touched many more hearts in cities acrossNorth America. This is the fourth year Victoria is participating, and the hope is to serve the 100+ residents of Next Steps, Sandy Merriman House and Rock Bay Landing shelter.
If you’d like to read their stories, send them an encouraging note, or even buy them a gift, please go to www.homelesspartners.com. Due to the short-term nature of many shelter stays, volunteers will continue to add stories to the site until mid-December, so please check for updates as Christmas Day approaches.
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Monique Cummings / Travis Hutchinson, Shelbourne Street Church of Christ
Jennie Keeran, Homeless Partners Co-Founder, firstname.lastname@example.org
Christine O’Brien, Victoria Cool Aid Society, Coordinator of Sandy Merriman House & Next Steps Transitional Shelter
Joann Connolly, Victoria Cool Aid Society, Coordinator of Rock Bay Landing