More than 30 homeless people in Saskatoon have warm new winter coats, thanks to a small group of young aboriginal people.
“I felt really good. I knew these people, I work with these people every day, and to see the looks on their faces and their gratitude, it was an awesome, awesome feeling,” said Dawn Mentuck, a stabilization unit support worker at The Lighthouse, Saskatoon’s downtown shelter.
This is the third year the group has set out to help people in need over the holidays, Mentuck said. They include Matreaca Munro, Myrna Durocher, Tricia Gardypie, Julia Mudrey, Lanny McDonald and Rylan Smallchild.
Mentuck often sees people in extreme need come through the Lighthouse doors.
“Some of them don’t have any kind of income — they’re not on social services, they don’t have an address where they can stay, so there’s a lot of people that use the shelter and detox and use the outreach van, and these were the kind of people we were aiming for.”
While the city has programs to help, such as free meals at the Friendship Inn, homeless people have trouble finding places to pick out clothing they need, she said.
The group raised $1,638 at a steak night earlier this month, which bought 26 men’s coats, 11 women’s coats, and a gift card for a woman with three children whose house had burned down.
They gave away most of the coats on Sunday, with a few left in the outreach van to hand out.
“The reaction was so awesome. Most of the time they would give us big hugs and smiles and big thank-yous — just awesome expressions of gratitude,” Mentuck said.