By Sean Meyer/London Community News/Twitter: Newswriter22
It was a day warmer than some years gone by, but those taking in London Homeless Coalition’s Soup ‘n’ Bread Day appreciated it just as much.
The bi-annual event has gone on for nearly a decade now and offers up soup (or chili) and bread for free to those looking for a warm meal. This year’s fall event took place over the lunch hour on Friday (Nov. 23) at the Covent Garden Market.
In addition to the lunch, attended by an estimated 200 people, participants also had the opportunity to take items from the coalition’s free store. The free store included items such as food, personal products, clothing and even toys and lasted until everything was gone.
Shelly Yeo, London Homeless Coalition chair, said people has grown to look forward to Soup ‘n’ Bread Day almost as much as the organization appreciates the opportunity to share its message.
“The overall message is about the lack of affordable housing and the need for safe, available, affordable housing. The message is getting across, but we have to be persistent because when we stop talking about it, it seems to go away,” Yeo said. “People think the issue has gone away, but it hasn’t, if anything it is getting bigger.”
The day also served as an opportunity to make the public aware of the coalition’s fundraising campaign for a proposed London Homeless Memorial. The proposal is to have a memorial erected in one of the city parks with plans for it to be completed for World Action Day in October 2013.
Melissa Hardy-Trevenna, member of the London Homeless Coalition steering committee, said $9,000 has already been raised towards the $15,000 goal. While fundraising continues, Hardy-Trevenna said the coalition will work with the city to find an appropriate city park for it to be erected in with a groundbreaking taking place next spring.
“Right now, if you have no next of kin and you die, you end up in an unmarked grave. One of the points that colleagues of mine who actually work in shelter agencies say is when you work with people you become their friend and if they die, you mourn them,” Hardy-Trevenna said. “It is like family. So it is for the service providers, it is for the people themselves, it is for their families, it will be a place for people to remember their lost love ones.”
Yeo said the memorial would be “really important” for the community.
“It would be important to those providing social services, it is important to families; it gives us a place to acknowledge the lives of folks who have lived some very challenging lives,” Yeo said. “It gives us that place to be together and honour those people who gave to our society in ways that we don’t always see; to honour them.”
For more information or to contribute to the memorial, contact Nancy Powers, executive director Centre of Hope, at 519-661-0343 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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