By Samantha Togertetz, Friendship Coordinator at Helping Hands Street Mission

“Everyone is Needed in Community…”

One of Helping Hands Street Mission’s Value statements is that “everyone has something to contribute and is needed in community”; even those without money, even those unable to work. If we go back to the original word, ‘bestowing with,’ we see much more than money or labour being given here. We see people bestowing their time, resources, and energy in collaboration with their community.

In the past week alone, I have seen countless friends open the door, pull out the ramp, advise, and comfort each other. We have had friends clean up messes outside and inside our space and reach out for support on someone else’s behalf. We have friends who help to clean our windows on a regular basis and others come to clean our space during clean up days. Over the past month, I have had multiple friends approach me interested in becoming a volunteer. We have friends who will sit on our front benches or on seats in our program room for hours, engaging anyone who’s interested in conversation. The same man who said he felt like he contributed 18 hours a day, advised other friends on where to go in Hamilton for a food bank. Some of these gifts are more noticeable than others, some are more physically or mentally draining. But each is given in collaboration. Each is given with intention. Everyone present gives what they can and that is what sustains us.

I am so proud of the contributions I have seen from friends and family to keep this community running, and I am so grateful to have been able to add to those contributions myself. I look forward to seeing the fruit of these contributions, which more often than not, creates more space for community and even further contributions. And hopefully through acknowledging these efforts, through giving space for gratitude for every type of contribution, we can bring it back to that original definition.