Would you spend a month outdoors to help the homeless?
Don Miller of Duncan is willing to do so, if he can find someone to help him organize a project to help the homeless get a hot supper every Sunday.
He said that he’s worried that people living outdoors are not getting enough nutrition to properly survive in winter.
“On Sundays, I know Warmland House is the only place the homeless can get a meal and that’s only at lunch. One meal is not good enough in this weather. I know there are guys sleeping under the bridge and I know another younger couple that have cover from the rain but they are still outside. They’re cold and they’re hungry. You’ve got to have enough food to keep your strength and your metabolism up.
“I’m 54 years old and I’m willing to do this. I want to go homeless for 30 days, for donations to help set up a hot meal on Sundays for the homeless people of this area.”
It doesn’t have to be in a sit-down setting, Miller said.
“Even if it’s an outdoor meal like hot dogs or hamburgers and hot chocolate and coffee. I want to see them get something warm and nutritious for a supper. Winter’s here and when I see the frost on the roofs, I can just imagine what they are going through. I was homeless myself for a while. I’m a diabetic and I don’t know how many other diabetics are homeless out there but not eating is brutal. Then there’s getting into trouble with the law because you are panhandling for food. The homeless are getting tickets they can’t pay even though I’m sure the officers handing them out don’t want to do it and are just following protocol.”
Diabetes and hepatitis C are both diseases that require a lot of protein, something that’s tough to find when you’re a homeless, vulnerable person, he said.
He’s planning to take his fight to the street.
“I’m willing to do this. I’ve got a sleeping bag; I will eat canned beans, ravioli, whatever, I don’t care. I’ve got my medications, I’ve got a great nurse who’s willing to help me if I need it, to come around once in a while and take my blood pressure. I’ve been homeless before so I know what it’s like to skip meals.”
He said he’s on income assistance and knows how hard it is to get by.
“With $375 to go on, and that’s all you’re allowed to spend on a room, people won’t even look at you. They’ll laugh at you or slam the door. So, if you don’t have a place, you’re not getting that. All you’re getting is your street allowance, which is $235. You’ve got that to live on for a bloody month and you’re homeless. You’ve got food and laundry; it’s just not feasible. How much food can you buy for $200? Especially if it’s sustainable. People talk about beans, but try lighting a fire in the city. As for eating canned beans cold, it’s like anything else: how long can you eat the same thing over and over before your body protests?
“I praise the soup kitchen at the food bank; they give a good meal. I praise Warmland House, they offer that one meal a week that is not available anywhere else. But I just want to give the homeless something for supper so they will have two meals on a Sunday.”
Miller wants to sit outside a location, in a high-traffic area.
“I’ve been up and down the roads to see if anyone will let me sit out and raise money for this, to try to feed these people. Will somebody let me sit out and raise this money to help? Businesses are not willing to let me sit outside because they are worried about their customers but this is important. It needs to be done.”
So far, he is still searching for a place to set up and for someone who would help him set up a trust account, collect any money donated and deposit it for him to get the idea started.
If you have suggestions for Miller, to help him get his project on the road, contact him at 778-422-3991 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org