Why does North Simcoe have so many homeless, helpless, hungry? Some have said, not since the Great Depression have there been so many unemployed, unhappy and despondent young men, women and families. There was a time during the lumbering, ship building, grain elevators era in this area, employment was at a record rate in Midland. Then one time bustling factories shuttered their doors, rail service was halted, once thriving businesses closed. A growing catchment area for the super jail and mental health centre resulted with many of those released staying in the area and not returning to Metro, thus many of them quickly become unemployed, homeless and hungry.
Experience House in 5-6 years sheltered over 500 males ages 16-82, then it closed. Gift of Grace Soup kitchen under the late Pat Hook which got off the ground at Knox Church three decades or so ago….has been serving a great need providing meals, food and, on occasion clothing. The Out of the Cold program is active too as are food pantries at Sally Ann and St. Margaret’s. Experience House helped males find employment, health care, reading skills, alternative housing…..goal was to put purpose back into their lives. One believes it would be wise for all agencies to come together to discuss goals, strategies, avoiding duplication especially at Christmas hamper time.
By coming together organizations could potentially develop a group buying formulae so as to use cash donations more effectively. In the past the homeless have slept in abandoned cars, slept in igloo like snow banks, culverts and garbage bin dumpsters.
They are North Simcoe’s invisible with similar needs than we: warm shelter adequate food, friendship, love and respect.