Winter weather can be harsh, especially for those living on the streets. Following the first heavy snowfall in Lethbridge on Wednesday night, Streets Alive Mission has begun its winter essentials clothing drive to “warm the heads, hearts and hands” of those less fortunate.
“Every day there are many people in Lethbridge in desperate need of clothing, food or a daily meal,” said Marie McLennan, associate director of philanthropy, in a press release. “When winter arrives, especially as dramatically as this year, Streets Alive Mission needs to respond. To do that, we need your immediate help.”
They are seeking new or gently used gloves, coats/jackets, hoodies, toques and boots. Socks, men’s and women’s underwear, as well as sweaters, are also always welcome.
“These items are in very short supply but are in high demand,” said McLennan. “Your gently used coat will help someone stay warm today. That’s a big deal. We need your help, the people we serve are depending on it.”
Streets Alive Mission serves more than 125 people per day, on average, through their programs which include the People In Need (PIN) Bank, a nightly meal program, a trusteeship program that teaches clients how to handle their money, and both men’s and women’s transitional housing.
They currently provide 1,000 full sets of clothes per month, and serve a meal to 75-100 people in need every day.
No safety concerns over
There is no concern over public safety due to inadequate police staffing, the city’s police chief said Thursday.
The comments, made by Chief Rob Davis during a media call, come in response to earlier comments made by Lethbridge Police Association President Jay McMillan on Wednesday. McMillan’s comments were in response to a story in The Herald regarding a new policing strategy in the works.
“First and foremost, the number one priority of the Lethbridge Police Service is public safety,” Davis said. “We never waver from that. We’re continually committed to doing the best we can with the resources we have.”
LPS is revamping how policing is handled in the city and moving toward a strategy which would see officers staying in their respective policing areas in order to become familiar with the citizens, issues and concerns in those zones.
The plan is to avoid a “Tim Bits soccer” style response from police where different units around the city converge on a call — in some cases, leaving the areas they just left without an immediate police response if needed.
The Herald reported on the plan as it was presented to the Lethbridge Police Commission during the last week of October, and subsequent response to some of the discussion by the LPA.
Agencies team up to help needy
About 1,800 Lethbridge families could find themselves in need of a Christmas miracle this season. That’s why the Interfaith Food Bank, Lethbridge Food Bank and Salvation Army are teaming up for the 11th year for their Christmas Hope campaign to help provide assistance for those less fortunate.
This year, the groups estimate they will assist 2,300 adults and as many as 2,000 children.
“That is higher than our monthly serving of clients and that’s because throughout the Christmas season and the cold months we have a lot more individuals that come through our agency doors,” said Maral Kiani Tari, executive director of the Lethbridge Food Bank. “Basically we want to make sure we capture all those individuals that need the help for the Christmas season.”
A combined effort has served the groups well over the years, as they share many clientele. They share resources to ensure everyone registered has the means to make a warm Christmas meal and have wrapped presents under the tree.
Students raising money
for Puerto Rico
It will be a long road to recovery for Puerto Rico. But Francisco Gomez Jimenez, a University of Lethbridge doctoral student, is hopeful his home nation will pull through with a little bit of love from southern Alberta.
The Students United for Puerto Rico (SUPR) group is raising funds at the U of L this week to help any way they can.
Having grown up on the Caribbean island, Gomez Jimenez has many family members and friends who still live there. His heart was anxious to head home after Hurricane Maria — a powerful Category 4 storm with 150 mph winds — made a direct hit on Puerto Rico on Sept. 20. Since then, the territory has been stuck in a humanitarian crisis affecting 3.4 million U.S. citizens. Much of the island is still without power. Many places don’t have clean water and there is limited food and cell service. Only 10 days after the hurricane, Gomez Jimenez flew to the island.
“I just couldn’t deal with the fact that my family was going through all of that and I wasn’t there,” he said. “I just wanted to see their faces and know they were fine. ”