Helping the homeless

Resident urges others to be compassionate and consider others

I was watching the local news one evening, and was intrigued with the story regarding panhandling in Vernon.

Some of the people interviewed said they had no issues about it, and one of Vernon’s city councilors states that he has been flooded with complaints from single women and seniors.

Well, I am a single-parent, and my 15-year-old daughter came back from walking our two dogs to tell me that she saw a homeless person sleeping in the rain.

She asked if she could take him some warm tea, a sandwich and some fruit.

I applauded her compassion, and when she went back, she spoke to him and made sure he was aware of the local shelters. I have raised my child to be a vocal advocate and to realize that she has a moral duty to do what she can for others.

She stated he was appreciative, kind and not aggressive in any way. She took one of our large dogs with her to feel more confident.

What bothers me as a parent, single-mother and social justice advocate are the responses about the panhandling and it seems there hasn’t been any outrage about the fact there are homeless people, a lack of affordable housing, a lack of jobs and an increasing need for food banks in this area.

Are these the same people that are complaining about the federal government being willing to bring in 25,000 refugees who are fleeing a war torn nation and who would if they could love to live in their homeland, but that is impossible.

Syria is a waste land and no child should ever have to live in those conditions. It is a stain on humanity.

The world has not recovered from the 2008 recession, and to think that these people are not overwhelmed, stressed and feeling less than worthy would be an understatement.

Of course being harassed isn’t proper, and I certainly am not condoning their behaviour, but to ignore this systemic issue nationwide is even more ignorant and wrong.

We as neighbours, citizens and Canadians, can and must do more for those in our own communities and for those about to make Canada their new temporary home.


Sharna Sugarman