It’s hard to be homeless at Christmas.
“A lot of folks can’t make ends meet in Nelson these days, mostly because of the affordable housing situation,” Stepping Stones shelter’s Beth Seed told the Star.
“So we’re getting together some gifts for these folks, we’ve had a lot of donations, and we’re going to do a full-on Christmas dinner with turkey, potatoes, stuffing.”
They anticipate they’ll have between 20 and 25 people at dinner, including people currently staying in the shelter and former clients who have relied on them in the past.
And why are they doing this?
“I want them to feel like they belong. I want them to know they’re cared for, and I want them to know they’re supported.”
And so far the community has been hugely generous. A blanket drive earlier in the year produced “overwhelming” results, and they’ve also received piles of socks. Local businesses have also offered them discounts on their gift purchases.
Currently Nelson has a zero per cent vacancy rate, and the shelter has been routinely packed to capacity.
They’re always looking for cash donations, which go towards purchasing bus passes and food, but they’re already in good shape. The donations have gone a long way to putting them in the Christmas spirit.
“It makes a really big difference,” she said.