Diversity of Compassion

*previously published on http://www.homelessguide.com/

The morning sun brightens Streetgirl’s long hair and tans her face as she stands at the ramp holding a sign that says, “BROKE + HUNGRY – PLEASE HELP – GOD BLESS – PEACE.” A line from the chorus of a Rag’N’Bone Man’s song is rolling repeatedly through her mind, “Don’t put your blame on me.”  The earworm has been wedged for days, but should clear out soon to be replaced by another. Last week it was The Beatles, “Here comes the sun.”

On the red light a female driving a black van and wearing a niqab pulls to a stop. She happens to lock eyes with Streets who beams broadly, because that is the way she is. It’s impossible to tell if the devout Muslim smiles back from beneath the heavy veil, but she is moved by the moment, reaching for her clutch and scooping out a handful of coins to pass to the panhandler without a word.

Soon after, a woman of Asian descent, behind the wheel of a small red car, silver electrical tape holding the side mirror together and rust circling the door; she stretches out her arm with an offering of two sweet clementine in hand. Continue reading “Diversity of Compassion”

We are Canadian

DSC_8156I took this photo late November 2012. Looking at it today, I am still stricken by the incongruity of the Nike symbol on the shoes and the Canadian flag hanging so prominent; bold statements in a harsh environment. Jeff is resting his bare feet behind this makeshift shelter when I snap the shot. Unbeknownst to both of us at the time, in the frigid winter of 2014 the homeless man will lose two toes to frostbite and never wear his shoes the same.

Much appreciated

Streetgirl was up at the Ramp on Saturday and spotted a pile of samples of Aveeno Yogurt Skin Moisturizing Lotion which were strewn upon the ground beside the garbage bag used by panhandlers who frequent the spot. Someone must have dropped them off only to have their gift tossed aside. She hates seeing things wasted, so decided to pick the jars up. Continue reading “Much appreciated”