Comfort and warmth for the homeless in the face of a chilly Regina winter

Nursing students pitch in with socks, mitts, blankets and more at annual Community4Commection event

It was established in Regina to help the so-called “hidden homeless.”

But there’s nothing hidden about the need for this event, says Sarah Leippi.

In early November, members of the Saskatchewan Nursing Students Association were busy volunteering for the eighth annual Community4Connection, a one-stop shop of services for the homeless hosted by Carmichael Outreach at the Knox-Metropolitan United Church.

Leippi and her fellow nursing students handed out toques, mitts, blankets, scarves, warm socks, and click-and-heat warming pads for the homeless—not just those sleeping on the street, but the “hidden homeless” who are forced to couch surf, use shelters, and live in the garages of friends.

“We had 260 people come through, and all of the things we bought and handed out were gone in 20 minutes,” says Leippi.

Community4Connection, promoted as “people caring for people,” includes a wide array of services offered by various organizations and businesses. They include free haircuts, food and hot coffee, banking services, mental health services, vaccinations, hygiene products, and education on the resources available through a long Regina winter.

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“In our particular group, being nursing students, we have community placements at Carmichael Outreach at Knox-Metropolitan every semester, so we’re keenly aware of the event and how important it is,” says Leippi.

“We fundraise for the event. We educate the homeless on frostbite—how to treat it, how to prevent it—and this year we wanted to make sure we were giving out the proper supplies to go along with the education component.”

Enbridge is committed to improving quality of life in the communities where we operate. In 2017, we invested more than $1.2 million in hundreds of community-strengthening initiatives across Saskatchewan, and our recent $1,000 donation to the Saskatchewan Nursing Students Association helped purchase some of the warm clothes distributed at this year’s Community4Connection.

“Since we’re students, we’ll usually be involved in fundraising for the event for one or two years before we graduate and hand things off to the next group coming up,” says Leippi. “But it’s something that stays with you—and it’s good to know that you’ve given someone having a really hard time a measure of comfort.”

(TOP PHOTO: University of Saskatchewan nursing students display some of the clothes, blankets and heating pads they distributed during this year's Community4Connection event in Regina.)