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The Neighbourhood Ministry: March Steet Outreach Report

Submitted by Meg Kwasnicki

Mary (in for Janice ) and Meg met at St. Philip’s at around 9:40, where the indoor team provided 16 packages, with cheese and pepperoni sticks instead of eggs, with sandwiches (ham and cheese, peanut butter and jelly and cheese), bananas, oranges.   Thanks to Suzi and the St. Philip’s indoor team for preparing all these items.  We additionally brought a selection of clothing, underwear, sleeping bags/mats, totes, etc. 

We first stopped at 4th and Highbury and found T. (packet + food) and A. (packet + food, some shoes). We then drove up 4th to Vine and did not see anyone in the vicinity. Next we travelled around the Granville Loop park and Meg noticed some tent-like shapes in the west cloverleaf park. We parked and headed over, but found it to be abandoned.

The weather was progressively worsening as we went on towards 7th and Fir where we saw someone under the bridge. We approached a woman lying down with her dog. She woke up, introduced herself as S. and her dog O. (13 year-old lab mix, very friendly). She took a packet, food, water, sandwiches (gave her two as we had lots) and a sleeping bag. She said she’d met our group before and was very grateful. She noted that each time she was in a very dark place and our being there helped her feel she could cope. She’s looking for accommodation with the dog, and doesn' t feel BC housing is an option, so until then she’s on the streets.

Moving on, we quickly checked the alley behind the lumber store. Finding no one, we moved on to10th and Fir and saw J. waiting for us. He took a packet, sandwich, food and a shaver.

Our next stop was at Broadway and 10th. Under Edward Chapman’s awning sat S., M., and R. This is M. who used to camp out with H. and R. He told us R. had recently died of cancer. They each took packets and food, water and some clothing (underpants, socks,and long johns). M. and S. each took sleeping bags.

Heading north to Broadway we turned the corner East and found D. in a doorway. He wasn’t looking up at us at all and the traffic/rain noise made it very difficult to hear him - but he took packet + food, asked for a sleeping bag  and shoes (needed to return to the car). We came back in the car (parked behind Jordan’s briefly) to bring a sleeping bag and shoes, and found him with a friend, M., who was very shivery and took a packet, food (asked if peanut butter and jam sandwich had apricot jam - he loved it ), sleeping mat, underwear and a jacket. He needed shoes and if we ever come across a size 13, he’s the candidate! 

In the alley by Jordan’s we met M., who was doing his binning. He took food and nothing else. We then drove over to Holy Trinity Church and didn’t find anyone inside (we had also heard from the other fellas that they are now closing it at night).

We then drove back along Broadway and found M. sitting on a walker near the Safeway. He took a packet and food.

Driving west we didn’t see the usual folks, but did meet J. at the McDonald’s on Blenheim. He took the sandwich and food we offered, but appeared to be struggling with some nerve pain in his legs. 

We did not go to St. Helen’s for B. as we’ve heard he doesn’t always want a packet and it was very late at that point. 

It was a good outing despite heavy rain.  We gave away all the packets, sandwiches, and most of the fruit (Meg took the remaining home).