By Jaxon McGinn
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
There are many ways to help people in need during this holiday season in southern Alberta. A financial donation in any amount is greatly appreciated by most, and so is a donation of other items and volunteering.
One resident from Coaldale is gearing up for the holiday season by helping the needy during one of the more challenging months of the year.
Nancy Jane will be baking around 100 to 200 baked goods from the start of December until the end of the holiday season. All her baking goods go to the surrounding areas of Coaldale and she drops off cookies and hot chocolate to the homeless population to provide some warmth. During December, compared to our November temperatures in southern Alberta, there will be a harsher winter for the homeless, negatively affecting them with limited homeless shelters and limited capacity.
“The reason why I started baking was mainly for the homeless, but it was also to give back during the holiday season. I was raised in a decent home, and I had always remembered my father giving out a helping hand to our homeless community, so I think my father had influenced me to do these types of things for our community,” said Jane.
After volunteering at the soup kitchen in 2019 with her daughter Robbie, Jane had the idea she needed to help the vulnerable population, but didn’t know where to start. She knew she was good at baking and started there. Still, it wasn’t until 2020, based on her finances, and the cost of baking going up, that she had started saving and then when COVID hit, she thought it was the right time to give back.
“Money hasn’t always been there for me, so I believed it was $25 every month when I started saving. The money just started adding up, so when the pandemic hit, I had enough money to provide over 100 to 200 cookies during December,” added Jane.
According to scholastic.ca, they know a few things about homelessness in Canada, thanks to local and provincial organizations such as shelters, religious institutions, food banks, and other social programs.
Canada’s homeless include teens, the elderly, men, women, and families with young children. The homeless population includes people born in Canada and immigrants. Most homeless people in Canada are single men between the ages of 25 to 44.
Jane added that if you want to help the homeless population, please volunteer at any community event your town or city is hosting.