Under the Burnside bridge, where I knew there would room to pull off the street, I found far more families than are in that area on Saturday Market days. I wonder where they go when we fence off the lot and bring in security guards to tend the booths overnight? Although the lot was quite full of tents and small bundles of belongings, there was plenty of room to pull in.
I asked the first woman I saw if she would like some food, and her response was, "Do you have any blankets?" I was so glad I did! Then she saw all the sack lunches and yelled, "Hey you guys, there's food!" She looked in her bag and said, "Wow, ham. Awesome!" Then yelled louder that there was food over here.
I was glad to see that there was a community among these people. They shared, they obviously looked out for one another. They were doing what people do naturally -- gathering together with limited resources and finding shelter, creating a village, bonding to be a safe place for the children, learning from one another how to survive. The only difference in this modern age is that we've developed such urban areas that the places for people to gather in this natural way are limited, and we tend to look down our noses, shun them, consider them less than ourselves.
As I passed out the lunches, I wished people a merry Christmas, and everyone replied either with a thank you or, "and merry Christmas to you," or "Bless you!" These are good things to hear any day, but especially on Christmas. I asked about good times to bring other food, especially hot soup, and promised to be back next Friday with a big pot.
I wish I had more blankets and jackets. If any of you have extras you would like to donate, please let me know. I understand that not everybody enjoys mingling with the homeless on the street, but I relish it. It feeds my soul.
Thank you, again, for supporting this venture.