Bags of Hope

A while back, we were sitting around the table talking about the current events happening.  A question popped into our minds – What about the homeless?  How are they eating? Surviving?  My husband was in Ottawa prior to our conversation and had noticed how much of a ghost town it was.  With no government employees working downtown – all working from home and many businesses not reopened yet, there were no patrons walking the streets.  It is these patrons whom, out of the goodness of their hearts,  help the homeless.  A servants heart helping the unfortunate.

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of others – Charles Dickens

That was when it hit us.  We could help.  We were watching a YouTube channel (The nomadic movement) which had actually inspired us. In it, they made a bunch of bagged lunches and headed out to deliver them to those in need.  Why couldn’t we do that?  So, we purchased some bread, lunch meat, tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, apples, water, and some mini cookies as a treat.  As a family, we assembled the delicious sandwiches and bagged them in a decorated brown paper bag with a message along with a $5 bill inside. We had 10 bags to distribute around Ottawa – our Bags of Hope.  

I have to admit, at first I was a bit intimidated.  Stepping into something you are not familiar with can be scary.  We were going to be in an area of the city I was unfamiliar with and to be honest, a bit sketchy.  But!  It was so worth it. We were walking along and spotted a man looking in a street grate for loose change.  He received a bag and was so grateful.  

We then came upon a woman going through the garbage searching for empty alcohol cans or bottles. This was how she earned money to eat – handing in empties each day in return for cash.  She received a bag and again, was so grateful.  

We continued to deliver these bags of hope to seven other people desperately in need of food.  We had one more to give away.  We were walking towards the Salvation Army when one of the men who was already fortunate to receive a Bag of Hope came running towards us.  He was in tears, grateful for our help, but also in search of more bags for his friends.  We only had one more left.  Even at that, he was more than grateful for our help.  Aside from the Salvation Army, it was hard to find work (during this time in history) and with less people in the city, that meant less people with giving hearts around.  

Ottawa, bags of hope, helping the homeless

After we were finished, the four of us were quite quiet and my daughter was in tears.  We were shocked to see the unfortunate state of those in need.  It was an eye opener to see how, in a wealthy city like Ottawa, that the entire city was basically shut down. Stores were boarded up, government buildings completely empty, and next to no visitors or tourists taking in the beautiful sites that our Capital has to offer.    

My Brain Rant:  These times that are happening right now is affecting everyone.  Media is so focussed on Covid-19 that it has forgotten the health and well being of the country.  Our public health system focus has been strictly about the corona virus and no other ailment.  What about mental health? What about suicide? What about heart disease? What about cancer? And, what about child abduction?  ALL OF THESE CATEGORIES REPRESENT HEALTH AND WELL-BEING.  No one category is less or more important.  People are scared to enter a hospital in fear of Covid-19.  Hospitals are not performing tests on important health issues saving their rooms for any Covid-19 patients (which have not overrun our hospitals like they initially predicted).  Fear has infected the public just like a virus. To read more about Fear, click HERE to read a previous blog post.

Walking around Ottawa was a true eye opener.  These residents of the city are in desperate need.  They aren’t getting the help that they should. The medical help they need has not been available to them.  Similar to those who are experiencing mental health issues, or heart issues, or even the possibility of having cancer in your own town – not just the less fortunate.  

Delivering these Bags of Hope was only a small act of kindness on our part, but seeing the gratitude in their eyes was worth it.  It didn’t take much and it didn’t cost much, but the overall outcome of what four simple people did was priceless.  

Ways To Help Someone:

  • Deliver a meal to a neighbour
  • Pick up some groceries for a friend or family member
  • Visit someone you know who lives alone (they desperately need social contact)
  • Make your own Bags of Hope and deliver to those less fortunate
  • Donate to the Salvation Army or a local charity
  • Donate to your local food bank (many people are without jobs at the moment and the food banks are having a hard time keeping up).
  • Call someone you haven’t spoken to in a while.
  • Make someone laugh (laughter is such great medicine for the soul).

If you have had on your heart lately ‘How can you help someone?’, this was a simple and easy way to extend love to those in need.  A giving heart will always fill up your soul.  To see the smile of someone in need and the love in their eyes upon receiving is all your heart needs to live.  

There is no better way to thank God for your sight than by giving a helping hand to someone in the dark – Helen Keller

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