Donny is a senior community member we see at least once a week at Helping Hands. He has made friends with all the staff and most of the community members who frequent the cafe. Whenever he’s in, Donny will pull his walker through the door, sit on one of our front benches and regale us with the day’s events. We get to hear where he’s been and where he still plans to go, along with plenty of jokes thrown in. These stories are threaded together by his meal support outreach which pulls him to all reaches of downtown Hamilton. Donny will tell us which parks he visited, how things are going at Jackson Square, the deals he found on snacks and all about the people he served.
He proudly bears a sign that reads:
Any spare change you can donate will help to purchase supplies so I can make sandwiches for distribution to the homeless and needy people on an everyday basis.
Your generous contribution will be greatly appreciated.’
If you ask about his sign, Donny will tell you a friend typed it up for him and the man at the lamination shop laminated it – free of charge. The joy with which he tells this story shows you he absolutely loves his community and is giving back in a phenomenal way.
Recently, our outreach worker, Samantha, sat down to ask him a few questions concerning his daily routine. This was in an attempt to better understand his outreach and needs. Here are the questions that were asked and his answers:
What do you do for your outreach?
I do bagged lunch for the homeless, try to help them out. Spend about half hour to an hour in the kitchen, making them. Yeah, I’m downtown by 7:30 am and pretty well right now it’s coming out of my own pockets. Gets heavy, you know?
How long have you been doing it for?
2 years now.
Do you know how long you’ll keep doing it?
Until I can’t
What goes into a bagged lunch?
A sandwich, a juice box and a snack, maybe a cookie or something.
What stores do you like going to when you buy supplies for the lunches?
Food Basics, No Frills and Dollarama
What are you hoping people will donate?
Things like bread and lunchmeat and juice boxes
Anything you want to say to people who’ve already donated?
Just Thank you.
If you would like to donate a gift card to Donny, they can be received at Helping Hands Street Mission, 349 Barton Street E, Hamilton ON L8L 2X8.