On the Street 2020 – Preparing for Advent

Our journey towards Advent has driven our On the Street Program to new heights. Just before the first weekend of Advent on Friday, November 27th, our SSVP Youth Conference of London held another On the Street event. Due to a storm that happened on the Sunday November 20th, bringing rain and gusts of wind from the south of 60-80 kilometers/hour we had to cancel. Fortunately, the following Friday was a day made only from heaven, sunshine, and temperatures of 15 degrees C. it was a glorious day where we served around 100 of our brothers and sisters who are homeless in London.

We again were located and serving the area near one of our shelters in town where our friends congregate to be close to the shelter to register a bed for the night. We had advertised our “Big Give Away”, so this would ensure us more than the usual to gather and wait for our donated items.

We were very blessed to be partnered with Carol McIntyre from Clothing Works https://clothingworks.ca/, a non-profit organization who help those wishing to get back into the working world, by sharing seminars and preparing them with fashion suitable for an office or working environment. Our SSVP Youth conference received over 40 bags of clothing and other items needed to improve life on the street. Along with these items we made sure we purchased other useful supplies necessary to make life easier, such as small blankets, tarps, backpacks, tooth paste and toothbrushes, and some winter gear such as hats, mittens/gloves, and scarves. The remaining items were donated to London Cares

https://londoncares.ca/news/2015/06/19/london-cares-is-a-housing-first-intervention/, another non-profit organization that aids the homeless in our community. This organization is a 24-hour Municipal Government service available to anyone who is in need. Special thanks goes to St. George’s Parish Conference for taking them there. I would not have known about this organization if I had not had the conversation with their president of their conference, Brian Sinasac. Thank you for sharing this information!

It certainly opens one’s eyes when we are seeing face to face the increasing needs for warmer clothing as winter approaches. With Covid and all of the restrictions hampering our serving techniques of yesterday, it has taught us to think beyond the norm and just to push through and serve as best we can. We have honed and made better our method during this last On the Street event. We felt safer than the first event (June of 2020) during Covid and hope that the next ones will improve as we find more ways to make this event efficient, maintainable, and sustainable. New partnerships are beginning to happen, and this can only be better for those we serve!

We need to be making connections with each other to be able to do our work more effectively, we don’t need to work harder, just work with each other better.

God has blessed our young people with this thirst and hunger to be the ones who can create change and make a difference in the lives of those who are marginalized. They are our present and our future leaders of this world and they are already preparing the new way for Social Justice. I am just here to witness this incredible journey with them and what a journey it has already been. Appreciate our youth, for they see things not the way any of us will, they are brilliant and ingenious on how to solve a situation in our time. It is about time to let them step up and show us what they know! Let us follow, in “Preparing the WAY”.

Always serving in Christ:

Lillian Mulder: Youth Adviser
St. Louise de Marillac Youth Conference
Holy Family Parish, London Ontario