Boomer Talk: Vernon homeless outreach team and COVID-19

Columnist Carole Fawcett catches up with two generous women going above and beyond to support the community

I would like to introduce you to two special souls. Their names are Jeanne and Anita.

These two caring people started a non-profit charity called the Homeless Outreach Team. This organization helps those who live rough on the street. They are not associated with any other group (churches, etc.).

You’ll notice them by their bright orange T- shirts that have the word ‘Outreach’ on the front and back.

They travel around to different areas in Vernon two to three times a week handing out Narcan and various other life-saving items; as well as other basics of living that will allow someone to live with some self-respect.

Anita and Jeanne make a difference in the lives of those who have nothing.

The difference they make is impressive because they offer up trust, dignity and as their card states, “compassion without judgment.”

They also provide a whole myriad of practical items that help to make life just a little bit better for someone who lives on the street. A little help goes a long long way.

Their generosity knows no bounds, as they use $120 of their personal money every month to give back to the community.

That adds up to $1,440.00 each, or a total of $2,880.00 together annually.

They help women and men who have fallen through the cracks and who do not have shelter or many of the other basics needed to function with personal respect on a day to day basis.

They shared that in their dreams, there would be a portable shower for street people, because like everyone else, those who live on the street like to be clean and living on the street makes that a challenge.

Jeanne has relatives that have been impacted by drugs and alcohol and it has given her the depth of understanding that goes beyond reading a book about it. She wants to help others so that they know someone cares.

Anita and Jeanne help to give back a small amount of dignity, helping to lessen the shame that walks alongside those who live on the street.

If you would like to help out, here is a list of things that could help — this is where COVID-19 has impacted this group as well, as things now have to be new and not used.

The list starts with masks, socks (new, men’s and women’s), underwear (new, men’s, women’s, S-M-L), baby wipes (case), Kleenex in the individual packages, toothbrushes and toothpaste, deodorant, winter gloves, condoms, Tampax, razor blades, men’s shaving supplies, hair brushes, bar soap, gas card (for the workers), journals, pens, new plastic bags, yogurt, cookies, bananas, Ensure or Boost and spoons.

They need warm blankets. Hand warmers would be helpful too, as it would help keep both their feet and hands warm on a cold winter day. Hot chocolate in the winter and flats of water year round. They could also use a couple of good first aid kits to carry around with them – for basics, such as bandages, etc.

If you would like to help, either as an individual or business they have a charity number, so you can claim any donation on your income tax.

“This work has stretched my heart and soul beyond anything I’ve ever done before,” Anita said.

Just remember when you see someone on the street, they are someone’s relative and you don’t know their story or how difficult their journey has been.

Boomers, please help Anita and Jeanne by donating from the list in this article, or from your wallet if you can.

You will positively impact someone’s life.

To make a difference call Jeanne at 250-503-7680. You can also email them at: vernonhomelessoutreach@gmail.com.

Carole Fawcett is a freelance Writer and humourist. www.wordaffair.com.

READ MORE: BOOMER TALK: Extraordinary People

READ MORE: RCMP seek help finding missing Vernon senior


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