Touched by the sad fate of homeless people during the polar cold period, a 23-year-old young woman undertook to distribute hundreds of winter coats thanks to a crowdfunding campaign.
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“In these uncertain times, when we are restricted in many ways, one of the things we have control over is making the lives of the people around us a little easier and less painful,” argues Victoria Kalisky .
In the space of just a few minutes on Saturday night, she has set up a fundraising campaign with her father. The latter called on a business partner to obtain low-cost coats worth between $200 and $300 each. Yesterday, some $14,000 had already been raised, enabling the purchase of 581 parkas, hundreds of gloves and a thousand hats.
Living not far from the intersection of Parc Avenue and Milton Street, the McGill University student believes she is well aware of the crying needs of the homeless.
“Many students come here to eat and live around, so we are exposed to the homelessness crisis every day, which makes us have more empathy, I imagine”, argued the Montrealer.
The one who has been shaken by the death of a second homeless person due to the cold since the beginning of the year simply hopes that her gesture will convince other people to imitate her. “We will continue as long as we have the momentum,” said Ms. Kalisky.
His initiative is also warmly welcomed by the traveling community, which received a second batch of coats on Monday. At the passage of the Journal, many wore only a jacket or simply had no toque or gloves.
“I’m outside all the time. I live in a tent. Me and my girlfriend, it will keep us warm,” said Matthew Donohoe with relief.
For Philo Zumbu, who arrived a month ago from the Democratic Republic of Congo, this is an unexpected gift.
“For us it shows that Canada is a welcoming country, because nowhere have we been given clothes to protect ourselves,” he said.
This donation of coats comes as parts of Quebec and greater Montreal are breaking decades-old temperature records.
Between January 1 and 22 in Montreal and Laval, Urgences-santé paramedics were called to intervene 39 times for exposure to cold that may have led to frostbite or hypothermia. This is more than the previous two years combined for this same period.
“When there are people who are outside and we see that they are in vulnerable situations, it is to go to them and make sure that they are correct, if they have need help,” said Stéphane Smith, spokesperson for Urgences-santé.