Juicy clementines, a fresh turkey and cranberry wrap, and a box of After Eight mint chocolates with a big red bow. Someone was going to devour and savor these items that I'd selected for a care package.
Tonight it's New Year's Eve, and I'm reflecting on the homeless man who rode past my apartment on his bicycle, with 2 backpacks and a black cloth grocery bag. All his belongings were on his bike, and it made me cringe and also feel immense pity for him. I watched as he rummaged through the garbage bins along the stretch of apartments on my street. My heart ached for him.
So I reached into my fridge and packaged up what I could before he was gone.
Chasing after him, I handed him the grocery bag with the food and chocolates. "Merry Christmas," I said softly.
He was about 62 years old, face weathered from the hard times, shaggy black hair peppered with grey strands, wearing brown work boots and ratty dark jeans with a bulky, black bomber coat.
"Thanks," he said humbly, accepting the bag of nourishment.
My neighborhood has one of the highest rates of homelessness in the entire province. It is staggering. Daily, I witness scores of single men on bicycles or on foot, no doubt sleeping in parks or bushes, or perhaps along the creek. The epidemic of poverty in this city just breaks my heart, and with the closing of General Motors next year, something tells me, this place might end up being a ghost town. The mall cost $90 million to expand, but when the 2,600 auto workers are laid off, that results in millions of revenue lost annually at the mall.
These are the reflections of an author at the end of a full year. A year that has been filled with change for me, and huge personal growth. I only pray that one day we can bring an end to this vicious cycle of poverty once and for all. But maybe, just maybe, that's just me being Pollyanna.
Happy New Year, my friends.