Thursday, October 11, 2012

It's Time to Care in Barrie

Thanksgiving has passed; hopefully we all had much for which to give thanks. However, there are many among us who have very little, are barely scraping by. My daughter and I saw this again first-hand, helping with Rosie’s annual Thanksgiving turkey dinner. Hundreds came to enjoy a hearty meal together, but though the day is done, their need continues. Even between holidays, we must work to share the bounty of our prosperity.
This coming Thursday (October 18) will be one such initiative, the Time to Care event put on by the Barrie Chapter of the Simcoe County Alliance to End Homelessness. Based on a successful model from a few years ago, this will be a day of free services and resources for those who are having trouble making ends meet.
The location will be Central United Church, and the event runs from 2 to 6 PM. Attendees will enjoy free men’s haircuts from Rick the Barber or women’s styling from two hairdressers. A photographer will be on hand doing free portraits, while an ID clinic will help people get the proper identification that is so often crucial to have on hand.
With help from the Barrie Food Bank, the David Busby Street Centre, the Barrie Free Clothing Centre and other Chapter members, hearty soup kits will be available to take home, along with pet food and some gently used clothing, including jeans and winter wear. Be among the first 100 attendees and you can put it all in a durable recycled plastic bag courtesy of the Barrie Green Party.
The health ministry of Mapleview Community Church is providing a foot care nurse, information on health promotion, and take-home healthy breakfast provisions like granola bars and cereal. Healthy Smiles mobile dentist will be set up for kids and teens, and a Nurse Practitioner and personal support worker will be there to address health concerns.
There will be presentations about the Good Food Box program and legal advice about tenants’ rights and responsibilities.
To ensure no-one is hungry that day, the Barrie Chapter’s different member agencies will have a chili cook-off, each featuring their own special recipe, accompanied by fresh rolls from Fox’s Bakery. I’m looking forward to sharing my (soon to be) famous spicy vegetarian chili!
It’s said a society shall be judged by how it treats its most vulnerable. In that case, the members of the Alliance’s Barrie Chapter are working hard to redeem our community. If you know of anyone who could make use of our assistance, please make sure they know of the Time to Care next Thursday, and perhaps even help get them to and from the event. You, too, can be part of the solution.
Written for my Root Issues column in the Barrie Examiner, published as "Contribute to 'Time to Care' event next week".
Erich Jacoby-Hawkins is a director of Living Green and the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation

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