I decided earlier this month to spend Thanksgiving helping on the streets. To do so, I made arrangements to check with my sponsors for their leftovers. I had originally expected to do this alone so as not to impose on others on a holiday, but turned out that I need not after all, as a generous friend offered as soon as I mentioned my plans 🙂
A very considerate worker at the bakery department of one of my sponsor stores made sure to ask his co-workers to leave me two large boxes of baked goods yesterday evening. There were goods from chocolate-covered croissants to whole loaves of bread~
The rain stopped once we stepped outdoors. I truly believe that it must be karma, as whenever I start doing this it always stopped raining 🙂 We were waiting for the bus to the downtown eastside when an old lady at the stop expressed her interest for some bread.
Her name was Margaret, and she lived close to the district we were going to so was familiar with the local population. She was very friendly, and after she found out what we were planning to do she told us about how she used to pack up bags to pass out to the women on the streets. Before I realized it, she offered to come with us. It was nice, as I had intended to visit a district that has great needs but may not be too safe at night.
We hit the streets and started passing out the food immediately. People swarmed up to us when they saw the free food and many returned for second or third helpings. The sweet breads and the biscuits were the most popular, and were gone within minutes 🙂 We wished everyone a happy Thanksgiving, and in return received many thanks and kind wishes. Before we left her, Margaret took us in for a warm embrace and told us how sweet we were to have done this \^o^/
As it was late at night and my partner needed to leave for cat-sitting duties, I went back to my sponsor alone and took the remaining bread to pass out along Granville and Robson. I found a girl with pixie blue hair sleeping next to her boyfriend close to Qoola’s, and gave her some cheese bread and a loaf of whole grain. She made a courtesy and took the bread with both hands. It was very cute 🙂
I also met a gentleman outside 7-Eleven, whose story I will share later this week>.^
I ended the night with a warmed heart and a great smile on my face.
I had to admit that, originally, I had not planned on spending Thanksgiving out on the streets at all, but as the holiday approached and after talking to a few people who told me how much they missed their families for the last few weeks, it just made sense. Earlier this past weekend, I was a little discouraged when some strangers who saw me interacting with people panhandling on the streets expressed undue suspicions toward what I was doing. Most people who passed by either stared confusingly or complimented me when they saw I was handing out food. However, there were some who did not understand why I was approaching people sleeping on the floor, talking with them, and giving them things freely, and thought I was giving out illicit items. I have gotten used to the stares from people but even now found it a little disheartening when people made presumptions so quickly. However, the disappointment always soon dissipated whenever I get into my volunteer mode. The generous help I received from both strangers and friends this past weekend also helped to lift my spirits and made me more determined to continue this 🙂 In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I just want to acknowledge and give thanks to everyone who helped made this food-giving endeavour in the downtown east-side a huge success. I also want to say how grateful I am for the people at my sponsor stores and on the streets, whose encouragements and kind words are the fuel to keep this operation going ^o^
Happy Thanksgiving ^o^