Earlier this week, I headed out for my second Kits SIDEWALK Supper Project On the menu: my go-to summer meal, panini with a summer salad. I had a bit of extra time and also baked chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies (because who does not like cookies right?).
I was a bit nervous about this dinner for 2 reasons. One – I did not find anyone last time which really surprised me since I usually see people in need of a meal when I am in Kits. I really didn’t want this dinner to be a bust again. Second – I was heading out on my own this time. I wasn’t too worried about being alone but it did mean that it would be solely up to me to make the judgement call on whether someone was in need of a meal or not.
When people walk in the streets, they’re generally not looking for homeless people”. Actually, I guess it’s quite the contrary as people tend to avoid eye contact. I have to say this was also me up until a few years ago. I think it’s mostly the guilt of not really being able to do anything each time. It’s easier to ignore the situation than make eye contact. When I started the smile project though, I decided I needed to remove all judgments. Everyone deserves a smile! It was hard at first but slowly I got more comfortable with smiling at everyone not just people that I would have usually smiled to. It even felt good because although I did not always have change to go with that smile, most of the time, people seemed to appreciate just the acknowledgement that they were there, that they existed and that someone would take a moment to smile at them.
So here I was, actually “spotting” for people in need. This time, I had a meal to go with my smiles! But who’s to say this person is homeless because they look a certain way? How do I know if someone is in need of a meal?
When I first went out with Eddy, Thomas and Andrea to learn about the SIDEWALK Supper Project, they gave me some very good tips to go by. (If you’re new to the blog, you can read about that experience here.) “Never assume,” they said. “We only approach people who are outwardly asking for help.” I also like the fact that they always asked each person if they were hungry. They did not just hand them out a meal. This is the approach I’ve taken on for my project. It’s simply the most respectful way to go about it. Yes- I want to help! But it’s important to make sure my help is needed AND WANTED!
Thankfully, I found a few lovely men who did want my help. For a couple, it was their first meal of the day and they opened it up right away Others decided to keep it for a little later. All were appreciative though and thankful for the offer of a healthy homemade meal.
The SIDEWALK supper project is a group of young West Enders who bring the warmth of their kitchen to the streets, feeding the homeless with home-cooked meals and sharing their stories along the way. 100% non-profit. 100% love.
You can follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.