“I wanted them to get to know me, outside of my uniform,” says Jesse. “And I wanted to get to know them, too.”
Jesse used to be a security guard in downtown Kitchener and often interacted with people experiencing homelessness. He decided he wanted to develop new relationships with them. And so, he began volunteering with the Emergency Shelter in January 2019.
“It kind of feels like a big family,” says Jesse. He volunteers as a socializer there and spends his time connecting and chatting with the men. “Getting to know the guys has been a privilege.”
The past year was shrouded in uncertainty and change for those involved with the Emergency Shelter. The number of men using the shelter ballooned from 47 to nearly 100. Within the span of 12 months, the shelter has moved three times.
But safe social interactions remain a priority – genuine connection humanizes the shelter experience. And this wouldn’t be possible without your generous support of the Emergency Shelter.
“We can’t do hugs or fist bumps,” says Jesse, “but I still get to know the guys and hear their stories.”
The moments Jesse cherishes the most are the simple ones: laughter over card games in the hotel lobby, socially distant conversations, and stories told over meals before the pandemic.
“They offer me so much – stories about their home countries, beliefs, religion. All I’m doing is offering them some of my time. It’s eye-opening to see how these people have so much to offer me. And the world.”
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