Action Post #5
1.) Where are you with your action? (e.g. what involvement have you had so far? Describe with examples)
This past week has been very exciting I am working my fourth shift at the BC SPCA and my third shift at the homeless shelter. I also had the amazing chance to go to the downtown east side with a club I participate in called Project HELLO. Also, this week we had a research session in order to find the addresses of those who wanted to send a Christmas card to a loved one from our trip downtown.
2.) What are some successes that you have had? Provide specific examples.
Going to the downtown east side was a major success in my action and it was very eye opening in general. When going downtown I had no idea how many people were homeless and yes, I have been downtown and seen many, but I did not realise that in that area almost the entire population is homeless. While in a store buying the food, I should bring, and I brought boxes of granola bars but I saw gloves. I bought a couple packs of gloves and when we got there, I ran out quickly. It was a great decision in seeing how many of these people did not have proper coats, scarves, gloves or hats for the cold weather. Another success I had was at the homeless shelter I learned how to communicate with the people there and how to clean and prepare the dishes for the homeless. There are many men that come and little women. I find that all of them are very positive energy and were very friendly. There was also great success with our chapati sale! We made great sales and had lots of fun making and selling the chapatis. It was very rewarding being able to tell people about our cause and spreading more information about what we do.
3.) What are some challenges that you have faced? Have you been able to overcome them? If so, how? Provide specific examples. If not, can you problem-solve some ideas that might work for next time or if a similar situation arises? Again, provide specific examples.
When researching the information for the letters written by the homeless it was difficult to read and use the information that was given to us. Some of the letters were addressed to just a name or a region. I came across a letter with a name and number, but the number did not work. To overcome this challenge, I found people with this name and began calling. None of the numbers picked up but I had found an email address. I emailed a woman named Pam telling her about the club Project HELLO and asking her if she was the women the letter was intended for. She replied the next day saying she was the correct women and sent me an address that we could mail the letter to. Another challenge was being downtown. It was hard to see all the people without homes there and though we brought food it was not enough. I bought a lot of granola bars, but I found that many people did not want them because they did not have teeth and they could not chew it. Next time I know to buy softer foods that are easier to chew as well as, as many gloves or mittens as possible seeing as how fast people needed them. Working at the homeless shelter is very heart warming and exciting but sometimes the people that come in can be rude or in a very bad situation. It is hard for me as a person that is very caring to not want to comfort these people or touch, but the staff around say that it is not allowed. In order to help as much as possible I make sure to put a smile on my face and ask if they would like any more food once they are done.
4.) What are you doing next and why?
Next, I plan to take more shifts at the homeless shelter because I very much enjoy working there with the visitors and the volunteers I work with. While I was working, I discovered that the other volunteers with me were past addicts that are living in the recovering homes of the Hope for Freedom Society. They told my friend and I their stories and it was very impowering to do good things and be a good person. I hope next I can volunteer at even more places like the Eagle Ridge Hospital or an organization called PLEA that I am looking into. Volunteering for these organization like Hope for Freedom Society and BC SPCA makes me very happy and meeting and hearing these people’s stories is the most interesting and rewarding part of it all.
As usual, great post! I really loved reading about your experiences with Project HELLO. You did a great job contacting and locating Pam – just FYI, I did send her card out so that reconnection of a family is thanks to you! It’s great that you noticed hard granola bars aren’t extremely needed as many people are not able to chew them. For me, I noticed a large majority of people were searching for water or juice – two things we didn’t bring. So, for our next trip, we know that soft foods and beverages are great items to bring.
Again, great job on your post and all your work with your action project!