People are making kits with all the essentials for homeless people in Toronto
The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly made life more difficult for most of us, but anyone with a roof over their head should remember they still have something to be grateful for.
Those experiencing homelessness during a pandemic has far more to worry about than boredom and watching too much Netflix, and that's why residents in the Waterfront neighbourhood have started making kits with food and essentials to be given to those of us who need it most.
Toronto resident Jennifer Evans posted about the initiative on Twitter this past weekend, sharing photos of the many kits made by community members that were then dropped off to those in need.
It takes a village ... thank you to everyone who helped with no-contact purchase and assembly of these kits! I’ll go through how you can help too later today after we drop off ... special thx to Meredith, Bethanne, Cat and D+S!! And June for the Sobeys bags ❤️ #Toronto #homeless pic.twitter.com/WT1tslQOec— jennifer evans (@nejsnave) April 4, 2020
Evans also took the opportunity to encourage more people to get involved and help with the initiative, and she shared exactly how it works.
First, she said, a family makes between 15 and 20 kits containing different food items and essential toiletries. She said meat or vegetable pies, cheese sandwiches and protein salads in jars are the best foods for this kind of drop-off.
Then, when the kits are ready, the family can text or DM her and leave the bags out on their porch, balcony or corner to be picked up, contact-free of course.
3. We will pick up and augment and drop off. If you can help please DM! 30-40 people very food insecure on the waterfront. Thank you!! #toronto @normsworld @WaterfrontBIA @jpanimages pic.twitter.com/a0Hz43RseO— jennifer evans (@nejsnave) April 4, 2020
Evans and her team with the Waterfront BIA will then pick up the kits and distribute them to those in the area experiencing homelessness from a distance.
"They can’t panhandle because there’s no traffic, stores + shelters are closed - the normal 'ecosystem; that keeps them barely fed has disappeared leaving nothing at all," Evans wrote on Twitter. "You can help make sure they don’t starve."
She also highlighted some of the practical items different families included in their kits to inspire others, including disinfectant wipes, painkillers, lotion, Kleenex and lip balm.
"It’s not only super helpful when families can either order online or buy the items, it’s fascinating to see the differences in what people put in their kits," she said.
Evans added that there are about 30-40 people experiencing serious food insecurity on the Waterfront at the moment, and these kits are for them.
On Saturday, Evans said she distributed 50 kits in just 15 minutes and many of the recipients hadn't eaten in days.
Devastating distance dropoffs today. 50 kits disappeared in 15 minutes. Half gone before I got out of the music garden. 17 yo girl with a 3 day broken arm, bone visible; people who have not eaten in days - this money can’t get down here soon enough. #topoli #toronto pic.twitter.com/sp7lStO5aX— jennifer evans (@nejsnave) April 4, 2020
According to Fred Victor, there are over 9,200 people in Toronto who are homeless on any given night.
The COVID-19 outbreak means not only are these people at an extremely high risk of getting sick, but they've also had many of their food sources cut off.
And though Toronto is making the effort to ensure there are numerous emergency food services available to those in need, initiatives like these kits are certainly providing a much-needed service to some of the most vulnerable members of our society in an extremely difficult time.
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