There is something about a winter storm brewing outside that makes you want to snuggle up with a good read, a hot beverage and a warm blanket. It’s volunteer day for me at the food bank and I am contemplating how to get out of it. There is over a foot of fresh snow on the ground and the sidewalk has not been shovelled out yet. My car is buried in the white stuff and I haven’t been feeling very well.
Then it hits me. I think about the “NFA’s” (the food bank personnel call those with Not Fixed Address this acronym). It was a long weekend and it might be busy and part of me is curious as to who will show up today. My FOMO rears its head and I get my but outside to dig out my car.
It’s interesting to observe the NFA clientele. A guy came in with shorts and crocs today. On his way out he took off his shoes and walked out into the snow barefoot. You can tell that many are suffering from frostbite with their fingers all taped up or parts of their extremities purple or deep red. I help some of them open the plastic bags as they are impossible to get the two sides to separate. I am surprised at how many have reusable bags they carry with them.
Their modes of transportation vary and some of them are very inventive as to how they carry their things around with them. The hampers are presented in boxes but many take the food staples out of the boxes and stuff their backpacks, wagons, and collapsible containers to overflowing.
One of the men was greeted with big smiles as it was mentioned that they hadn’t seen him for over 3 months and was concerned that he wasn’t ok.
There was a dismal selection of extra staple items this week. The choices vary from day to day and you never know what shows up mid shift. You have to think all your selections through carefully when you don’t have access to things like a stove or even a can opener.
You would have to have a very strong desire to survive in my opinion if you lived on the streets in a place where it can drop to minus 35 in a single day.
The more hours I spend helping these souls pick what’s for dinner tonight the more curious I become about their stories.
What keeps them frozen?