EDITORIAL : Experience is power to help

NANAIMO: Fundraiser allows residents to experience a little bit of being homeless.

Imagine yourself walking along a street in Nanaimo.

You’re improperly dressed for the elements, the cold wind knifes its way through your jacket, rain runs down your collar and water seeps into your shoes, chilling you to the bone.

Add to that the dropping temperature as night begins to fall, and you redouble your efforts to get home, seeking any bit of shelter along the way to ease the discomfort.

You arrive home shivering. And with a sigh of relief pour yourself a hot bath, change into some dry clothes and get busy fixing yourself some dinner. Already the comforts of home have helped erase the memory of what it was like outside.

Now imagine if there was no lifeline to rescue you from the storm. There was no home, no hot bath, no dry clothes and no food. Imagine if you were stuck outside, forced to spend the night in a doorway or in a park or under a bridge with nothing but a piece of cardboard for cover.

That’s a reality for a good number of the homeless, hungry and hurting in Nanaimo without the efforts of  local charities that support them. And that alone is a good reason to come out Saturday (Feb. 23) and take part in the Coldest Night of the Year walk to support those charities.

Not only do participants get the chance to raise money for Nanaimo’s Island Crisis Care Society, they also get the chance to experience a little of what it’s like to be cold, hungry and homeless on the streets. They can walk anywhere up to 10 kilometres in another person’s shoes. And that can’t hurt.

Island Crisis Care is among the many services helping the homeless in Nanaimo, and knowledge of what each organization’s clients are going through allows residents make a decision to help.

Homelessness or hunger is not going away anytime soon. But with help, services can make a difference today.