Ann is the director of a community organization called Storefront in the East End of Toronto.
She told me this story on a subway train just before Christmas – this is how I remember it.
One group of people in the community has for years put together packages of hand-made hats, scarves, and mitts for people that need them in the community, including homeless people. Until this year, they have put out messages that people who need them should come to their centre to pick them up if they needed them. A few people came each year, but they were concerned that many people were going without.
This year, they put each set in a resealable plastic bag with a message. They put them in bus shelters and in other outdoor gathering places across the community, inviting people to take the bag of warmth if they needed it. All of their packages were picked up, and they knew that people who were too shy or too far away or otherwise found it difficult to come to their centre were able to get what they needed. It took away the shame of admitting that they couldn’t afford warm clothing.