As many Peterborough residents hunkered down in their homes during the winter storm over the Christmas weekend, grateful to have shelter from the blizzard-like conditions and bone-chilling temperatures, some undoubtedly wondered how people living outdoors were surviving the brutal weather.
Perhaps some even considered the biblical story of the birth of Jesus, where Joseph and Mary were turned away because there was no room at the inn in Bethlehem and were forced to seek shelter in a stable.
If nothing else, the winter storm was a reminder of how vulnerable we all are to the elements, and why there is a need for an emergency winter response to the homelessness crisis in Peterborough.
That’s why the Community Foundation of Greater Peterborough is seeking donations from the community to help support a new emergency overnight drop-in centre to offer those experiencing homelessness respite from the cold.
The Community Foundation has joined with seven other Peterborough-based non-profit organizations to provide the program, despite a recent decision by Peterborough city council not to provide $100,000 in funding to support it.
The other participating organizations include Fourcast, Canadian Mental Health Association of Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge, United Way Peterborough and District, John Howard Society of Peterborough, Elizabeth Fry Society of Peterborough, Research for Social Change Lab (Trent University), and One City Peterborough.
The new drop-in centre will be run by One City Peterborough at the former Trinity United Church in Peterborough from mid-January to the end of April.
“It isn’t enough. We all know that. But, it will save lives,” states Community Foundation executive director Jennifer DeBues in an appeal for donations. “We’re doing this so others may focus all their energy on setting up and delivering the program. We believe that no issue is too big to manage when we all work together as a community.”
If you would like to donate to support the emergency overnight drop-in centre, visit cfgp.ca/project/emergency-winter-response-fund/, where you can make a one-time or monthly donation.
“All money raised will go directly to the drop-in program to pay for snacks, winter clothing, survival gear, and essential outreach supports,” DeBues states.