On the Street, November 27th, 2022(posted: December 28, 2022)
On the Street, November 27th, 2022My family and I have had the pleasure of being involved with the On the Street initiative for the past 5 years. This year’s OTS event provided some challenges because of the weather conditions, but everyone came together to make the event successful despite the rain and wind. A few well-positioned tarps, some creative arrangements of tables and a resilient group of volunteers ensured that our friends received the items they needed. Backpacks, tarps, blankets, hardware items, winter accessories, clothing, toiletries, snacks, and an abundance of canned food items were given out in a “store-style” format giving our friends the dignity of choosing the things they needed.
The St. Louise de Marillac Youth Conference relies on the generous donations from schools, churches, businesses, families, and individuals to guarantee the success of their OTS events. To add to their growing list of community partners, I decided to invite my high school colleagues at Regina Mundi Catholic College to get involved as part of the service component for their annual Faith Day celebrations. Over the past 2 years, the staff at RMC has generously donated backpacks, hats, gloves, handwarmers, toiletries and snack items to support this worthwhile cause. We hope to continue and expand this support in the future.
As a returning volunteer, I have witnessed both the success and growth of the OTS event. I am always humbled by the gratitude of the people we serve and the passion and dedication of the volunteers (especially the youth and their families) who provide the service. I have been impressed by the ability of the group to adapt to challenges such as COVID restrictions, donation/fundraising shortfalls, and difficult weather conditions. Most importantly, I enjoy the smiles and conversations that happen each time we are On the Street. These simple interactions remind me of the SSVP mission to live the gospel message by serving Christ in the poor with love, respect, justice, hope and joy.
First weekend of Advent 2022– On the StreetOn Sunday November 27th, the Saint Louise de Marillac Youth Conference of London Ontario hosted their 8th “On the Street” event. Under tarps fashion for protection from the weather, our team prepared to serve on the corner of Horton and Wellington streets, with rows of food, clothing, hygiene products, among other essential items were shared with our friends in need. The process of autonomously selecting donations allowed individuals to receive items in a personal and dignified manner.
Along with the generous donations of a variety of London schools and organizations, the youth conference could ensure that essential items were provided for the most vulnerable members of the community. The consolidated efforts prioritized addressing basic physical needs as the winter months quickly approach.
We were reminded of the difficult conditions of living on the street as we embraced the cold, wind, and rain that came our way that dreary autumn afternoon. However, the rainy weather did not extinguish the raised spirits of everyone involved. You do not need sun for the Holy Spirit to bring light to our hearts. As Washington Irvine quotes, “Christmas is a season for kindling the genial flame of charity in the heart.”
Thank you to everyone who was involved in another successful "On the Street" event!
Written by: Victoria Goldsack,
Saint Louise de Marillac Youth Vice President
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On the Street, November 27th, 2022
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