IT’S A Wednesday night in George Little Park, chilly with snow on the ground. You can see your breath and your fingers and ears get cold quickly.
Music wafts through the air next to a travel trailer where warm jackets and sweaters have been collected and laid out to be chosen for those who need one or two.
People are offered sandwiches, snacks and coffee. They talk, laugh and enjoy each other’s company.
Men are offered a bag of toiletries, packed in a sealable plastic bag or kids lunch bag from a local restaurant.
It has been this way each Wednesday night since last month, organized by four friends who also draw on the assistance of others.
The group is called the Field of Faith Foundation, a new non-denominational Christian group with a goal of helping the homeless.
Group founders Kim Alm, Troy Idler, Barb Bond and Dan Lusby would often talk about what they should be doing for the homeless until they decided this year the day before Halloween that it was time to just do it.
So they chose Remembrance Day Wednesday and went out to the park to launch their homeless outreach.
On this Wednesday, their second in the park, Alm and two others, Tarea Roberge and Jennifer Lepage, gather around a young girl. She has wet feet and wet shoes.
They give her a pair of donated socks. There is no boots for her so they put plastic wrap around her newly dried and socked feet and put back on her wet shoes. She also gets a warm jacket, a sandwich and coffee.
A couple of men take seats in lawn chairs arranged in a circle. Alm says she has ordered a propane fire pit so the next time, they’ll have a place to sit and relax that is warm.
She and the others ask the men their names and chat with them.
Later that evening, Alm goes to pick up some men to play some music. Three men climb out of her truck – they used to live on the streets but now have a place to live.
The trio, Tom, Willy and Arthur, sing a prayer song from Haida Gwaii that Tom says they sing every day because it helps them stay sober.
Tom drums and sings while Willy and Arthur sing and play rattles.
Before they are done singing, Tom puts his head down and softly cries.
When the song and a prayer are done, he says that he cannot believe that someone cares about him.
Kim and Barb hug him.
“They know the devastation and sadness of the street and are passionate about speaking life into the homeless and addicted,” says Alm later. “God has worked powerfully in their lives.”
In a separate interview, Alm recounts walking down the street one day with her son, Matthew, 8.
They saw Gary, a well-known street person and Matthew said, “look at that hobo.”
Alm told him ‘no that’s not a hobo, that’s a person and his name is Gary. I know him very well.’
Matthew replied that they should find out when his birthday is and they could have a birthday party for him.
“My heart broke that he would see something that we don’t see,” she said of her son’s idea. “Gary deserves to be celebrated and loved, everybody does.”
For now group members are financing everything themselves and are looking for donations of clothing and footwear of all sizes for adults and children that’s already been sorted and ready for distribution.
“We’re looking to add layers [of clothing],” said Kim, adding that can mean a change of socks, or blankets or quilts to wrap people in.
The group doesn’t want to be duplicating times when food is available for those in need, they want to be filling a need when there’s no food available.
Anyone who wants to help but doesn’t feel comfortable going out and meeting strangers can do other things from making and donating coffee, sandwiches, or baked goods, donating clothing, footwear or even praying for the group.
“We’re just loving people out there. There are no conditions attached to any of this,” says Alm.