30 Donor Stories – A Lasting Impression
November 2, 2016
In a world that bombards us with “urgent” images and messages, the first impressions we form can be very powerful. Sometimes these are merely a passing interest, other times they bring us to an even deeper understanding and commitment to helping others.
I first heard about Street Health while volunteering with St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church’s Out of the Cold, a program that provides a welcoming place where people in need can sit and enjoy a warm meal. One night, at the end of the dinner hour, an announcement was made that Street Health nurses were available to help those with a health concern. I saw many individuals line up to receive a listening ear, a caring touch, and some medical aid from the Street Health team.
I asked one of the St. Andrew’s staff – what is Street Health? I learned about the frontline nursing care the group provides throughout the city to those who are experiencing homelessness. Those with needs beyond the immediate scope of a nurse, were not just referred to other healthcare channels, but could also get help to ensure they made connections and got to their appointments. As I thought about this, the teachings of Jesus –“Inasmuch as you did to the least of my brethren, you did it to me”- came to my mind.
Over the 30 years that Street Health has been working in the community, times have changed yet, for homeless people, barriers to accessing frontline healthcare still exist. Now, in addition to volunteer nurses, Street Health has four full-time nurses and recently added a nurse practitioner to the healthcare team.
In addition to hands-on care, these nurses also assist clients, for whom medicines are essential, to get and take their prescriptions on a scheduled basis. They help people by not letting them fall through the cracks, by getting them on track to better health.
Street Health receives financial support from the government of Ontario, but this isn’t enough to cover all of the services offered. A source of much needed support is private donors, individuals like you and me, who understand that healthcare helps homeless people in their current situation, and can also create opportunity. My first exposure to Street Health has left a lasting impression and, to this day, makes me proud to have been a donor for over eight years. I know it is an organization that helps those members of society who need help the most.
Our thanks to Bill H. for this story about why he is a Street Health donor. People from all walks of life give us their support, and we appreciate every one.