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If you live in Canada, you know how challenging it can be to get through the winter. It is not just physically challenging to deal with the bitter cold, but mentally as well. It’s difficult to stay positive and keep smiling when the days are short and the weather is often stormy.

You can only imagine the challenge involved when your only option is to stay at a homeless shelter during the winter months and you are dealing with a different kind of storm in your life.

I was speaking with a gentleman named Bill recently who stayed at The Ottawa Mission a couple of years ago. He told me he arrived a few weeks before Christmas with nothing but the clothes on his back. His son had died the year before, he was dealing with a chronic back injury that cost him his job, and his life had spiraled out of control. He was alone and in crisis.

Bill was given warm clothing from our clothing room, healthy meals from our kitchen, and support from one of our trained Case Managers who helped him navigate problems like getting a bus pass and submitting a disability claim form. Bill says that the daily support and encouragement he received from staff and volunteers at The Mission helped him to get back on track within a matter of months. He’s now living in his own apartment once again.

I know the encouragement Bill speaks of – I see it every day at The Mission where an average of 235 men are sheltered every night. I’m touched by the kindness and generosity of strangers who reach out and want to help someone with donations of warm winter clothing, boots, and food.

Your gifts allow us to shelter people like Bill from the storm.

Thank you and God bless!

Peter Tilley
Executive Director
The Ottawa Mission

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