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    "It's the Salvation Army Way"

    For Dave, a humble moment turned into a hopeful one. June 10, 2020 by Angela Rafuse
    Filed Under:
    Faith & Friends
    Barbara in her homemade shelter of boxes and blankets.
    Barbara in her homemade shelter of boxes and blankets.
    Dave and his wife, Donna, have been longtime volunteers with The Salvation Army. But when Dave offered to hang a sign in downtown Halifax, he didn’t realize the words of a woman experiencing homelessness would give him a newfound appreciation for the blessings in his life.

    “I’ll Be All Right”
    “As I was hanging a sign outside an Army building to let clients affected by COVID-19 know who they could contact, I noticed her on the sidewalk settling into a homemade shelter of blankets and boxes,” says Dave. “She was in her mid 50s, and you could tell her whole life was on that concrete. It broke my heart to see.”

    After the sign was secure, he went back to his car where Donna was waiting. They found a bag of cookies and a few dollars in change. “I went across the street and handed it to her, and she said, ‘No, thank you, I’m fine.’ But I insisted she take it.”

    Dave and Donna knew there was more The Salvation Army could do to help her, so they called the Centre of Hope, which was assisting with the opening of pop-up shelters in downtown Halifax to ensure proper distancing in current shelters.

    “The centre was so busy right then, but the girl who answered the phone still wanted to help. She put together a bag with a sandwich, water and fruit,” explains Donna. “We drove over immediately to pick it up.”

    As they handed the woman the meal, they told her they wished there was more they could do. She smiled and said the simple phrase, “I’ll be all right.”

    Escalating Need
    Her words brought hope and a new perspective to the couple. Like many Canadians, they have found themselves consumed with how COVID-19 has disrupted their day-to-day lives. But after hearing these words, they were grateful for the roof over their heads and knowing their loved ones were safe at home.

    “In a time when we are all finding something to complain about, here was this woman experiencing homelessness in the midst of the pandemic and she was smiling and comforting us with her words,” says Donna. “Our problems are so small compared to others.”

    “We have been impacted financially and experienced job loss like so many have, and we’ve gotten caught up in that and the loss of our normal lives,” says Dave. “But moments like these are so humbling. It reminds us of the bigger picture and what’s important—and that’s helping others.”

    The Salvation Army continues to offer essential services across Canada and Bermuda with the help of dedicated staff and volunteers such as Dave and Donna. 

    “This is such a powerful reminder of how important it is to help people in need during this time,” says Donna. “The needs are there, and they’ve escalated because of the crisis.”

    “If you’re capable, you should help in any way you can,” says Dave. “The Army is always going to be there for anyone in need. It’s the Salvation Army way.”

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