Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Reporting from On the Roof: Day 2 - midday

Good Morning Leah
I am sitting in the tent. Outside, the wind is blowing. Hard. It feels... scary and in that scariest a splash of excitement. This is life!

A client said to me yesterday, "Louise, you're doing this all wrong. If you're going to sleep out, you don't want to be on the roof. Roof's are windy and exposed. You want to find yourself some cozy nook in the trees, tucked out of site, out of view. It's warmer that way."

I laughed. I couldn't agree more. But our sleeping out is with a difference. We're not trying to be invisible. We want to be seen. To be noticed. To be heard. We want to draw people's attention to what we're doing so that together, we can change the face of homelessness on our streets. Together, we can make a difference.

Outside the tent I hear our new rooftop flat mates securing things. Kym Grozell and Jeremiah McKenna work on the night shift. They've given their next 24 hours off to come up and pitch in with our tent in On the Roof. Leah Ritco, a member of our medical team, and Heather Kennedy, who sits on our board of directors, have both left to in Leah's case for a client health management meeting and Heather to fly up to Fort McMurray for a meeting.

Kym and Jeremiah catching a few rays
Outside, I hear a squeal of delight from Kym. She just got an email from her cousins reporting a successful shopping mission. For the shelter. 24 pair of socks, 10 toques, 10 scarves and 10 pair of winter gloves, all for the shelter. Thank you Wanda and Sandy!

And thank you everyone who has donated thus far. Over $15,000 has been raised -- halfway to our $30,000 goal.

Not bad for a day and a half!

And we are grateful.

Just as the former client who phoned me this morning was grateful. "Hey Louise," he said. "I heard what you're doing. That's so fantastic. Thank you!"

And the man who stopped me on the second floor to ask me if I really was, 'sleeping on the roof'.

"Yes," I replied.

Leah and Dave enjoy a visit with Natalie who
dropped in with Starbucks for everyone
He shook his head. "You're crazy. But thanks for doing it. People need to know more about this place. They need to know people's lives are saved here everyday."

And I am grateful.

This is an amazing place. Filled with people and stories. Sure. Sometimes, they're not all that pretty -- but then, who's life is picture perfect. These lives are real and in their reality, the world is a place that hasn't always been all that welcoming. All that forgiving. All that kind.

And if in what we are doing we say, We see you. we care. You are important to us. Then we are doing good. Real good.

Donations can be made online at www.thedi.ca  thanks!  -- donations of socks and mitts and toques are welcome too!  :)

Isabel models her pink long johns
while John looks on

Daniel and Cirtbir pop their heads in and
hand out candy canes


Fi said...

I have just read through three or four posts about your 'adventure' on the roof and even I pick up on the sense of family and camaraderie that you describe..... and then I think but you're walking away from all this????

I then remind myself of what I have learnt about you and from you over the last year. It is then that I realise that yes you will move on to something different, but you will still be the same Louise - supporting others, fighting for the underdog and helping people to reach their 'awesomeness' because that's just who you are - someone making a difference.

I am constantly inspired by you and what you do. Kudos to you and your 'tent buddies' and what you're doing and that is, simply making a difference.

You go girl!

Leah said...

I have arrived safe at home after my night on the roof with Louise, Dave and Heather. My body is a bit weary but I faired well and I dare say it is going to be colder tonight. It was a pleasure participating I had Heather (board member) as my tent mate her sense of humour was great and it helped the time pass quickly. Visiting with Dave and louise in their tent last night before bed and this morning was great. Such a mixture of personalities melding together for a common goal. I am happy to have the chance to contribute and feel like I with others can make a difference. Happy tenting tonight Louise, Dave, Jeremiah, and Kym.

Louise Gallagher said...

And we truly felt blessed by your presence Leah! What a delightful tent buddy you are!


S. Etole said...

This sounds cold and invigorating and necessary and hopefully it will produce all kinds of good results.