Support takes patience, time

He’s a person, not a project, letter writer says.

Dear Chilliwack,

I get it. Your heart wants to do something for the man who can be found sitting outside across from the storage unit on Vedder or by the train tracks near Canadian Tire. So you bring him a bag of something from your closet or something you purchased at the store. You drive to find him, park at a safe distance, and approach. But you don’t understand why he won’t take your gift, why he waves you off, why he says “No thank you,” or when you persist in forcing it on him, he turns and flips out at you.

It is not because “He’s a very proud man.”

No. He’s a broken man. He’s a broken man who doesn’t want bags of things because bags attract beatings from others on the street and your gifts will get taken from him anyway. He’s a broken man who doesn’t wear gloves so he can keep small items like granola bars and cash in his hands and up his sleeves without anyone else on the street noticing. Acts of charity for items he hasn’t asked for aren’t what he needs because they put him in danger.

You know what he needs—besides a home? He needs no-strings-attached relationships. He needs people to sit on the sidewalk with him and respect his desire for silence or occasionally tell him a story. He needs us to show him we see him as a person, not a project. Projects have a planned start date and an end date. “Walk up. Drop off gift for homeless man… Done. Walk away. Act of charity: complete.” Sorry, that’s not seeing this man as a person.

Getting to know this man will take our time. If we’re going to force anything upon him, it should be our loving, caring, lavishly spent time.

Dave Hawkins

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chilliwack’s Gary Robbins maps out epic trail across eight mountains

Robbins spent nearly 40 hours covering 110 miles and over 10,000 metres of elevation gain

Driver in fatal crash near Hope pleads guilty in death of female passenger

Anthony Cortez scheduled to be sentenced for death following crime spree in 2017

Drug overdose fatalities on the rise in Chilliwack so far in 2020

Toxicity of street drugs dramatically increased during the pandemic, coroners service report shows

Missing Chilliwack man not seen for eight days

Bruce James Madill last known location was on Paula Crescent on Sept. 16

Rivers could rise rapidly as heavy rains hit Lower Mainland

Larger rivers to reach peak levels on Thursday or into Friday, according to high streamflow advisory

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

Increased border enforcement curbs cross-line parties at Peace Arch State Park

Gatherings between U.S. and Canadian citizens ‘a daily carnival’ – resident

B.C. Green leader says NDP abandoning environmental plan

Horgan’s claim of unstable government false, Furstenau says

Horgan promises more child care at $10 per day during Maple Ridge visit

Liberals say the NDP has failed to deliver on daycare

Mounties impound car of impaired driver celebrating birthday in North Vancouver

RCMP say the person was driving with their headlights off

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Transgender B.C. brothers debut fantasy novel as author duo Vincent Hunter

‘Transgender people are being misrepresented in popular fiction and media, and we aim to change that’

UPDATE: Abbotsford high school killer back in court for ‘not criminally responsible’ hearing

Gabriel Klein was previously convicted of stabbing Letisha Reimer to death

Most Read