The needy and the snow

Today while walking on the main street by my house, I saw a man sitting on the ground, leaning against a newspaper dispenser.

Wait. He was actually sitting on a couple feet of snow, more falling on him, some of it already covering him, a soggy jacket and a blanket over his legs.

I asked him if he was OK. He talked to me for a while, telling me that he’s from Montreal so this isn’t too bad for him but he doesn’t have boots because usually you don’t need boots here. He said that he does painting but doesn’t have enough work right now. He explained that after he’d get enough money for food, he’d go home for the day. When I asked him if he had somewhere to sleep, he said, “Yes, of course.”

When I walked by later I saw someone handing him a bag. It looked like a sandwich from Subway and the person also gave him a hot drink from there. He was grateful and quickly started opening the bag to enjoy the food while it was hot.

Friday night I saw a man planning on spending the night outside even though it was already -9C, felt probably like -15 and was going lower than that that night. He didn’t want help – the girl I was with went to ask him – and said he was fine.

Um, fine? Oy.

I often feel chilly in my apartment and it has four walls, semi-decent heating and double-paned glass windows.

I am feeling guilty, that I’m not doing enough. I keep hearing that even the needy in our own Jewish community don’t get enough help. What can, and should, we be doing?

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