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Harvest House volunteers raise awareness of homelessness in Windsor area

From left, Jennifer Dill, Donna Eldridge, and Kathy Riley try to stay warm inside a makeshift tent. They spend the night inside it each year to bring attention and awareness of the plight of homeless and displaced people.
From left, Jennifer Dill, Donna Eldridge, and Kathy Riley try to stay warm inside a makeshift tent. They spend the night inside it each year to bring attention and awareness of the plight of homeless and displaced people. - Colin Chisholm

Windsor, N.S. - It’s becoming a familiar sight around this time of year. Along King Street in Windsor, a makeshift tarp tent set up in front of the Windsor Baptist Church bears a sign that reads: ‘Would you live here?’

It’s a way to raise awareness of the plight of those who are homeless in the Windsor area — an issue that is often left unnoticed. Many sleep in far-off places like the train tracks or along the trails, not on downtown streets. They’re out of sight, out of mind.

But Donna Eldridge, the co-ordinator of Harvest House, and a team of volunteers take watch along a busy section of King Street as drivers-by swing in to drop off donations for their cause.

The funraiser is now in its eighth year. The volunteers say they’re proud of the community members who are stepping up, donating bills instead of coins.

From left, Jennifer Dill, Donna Eldridge, and Kathy Riley, volunteers with Harvest House in Windsor, wait out in the cold, collecting donations for the organization Nov. 15.
From left, Jennifer Dill, Donna Eldridge, and Kathy Riley, volunteers with Harvest House in Windsor, wait out in the cold, collecting donations for the organization Nov. 15.

It all makes a difference, but perhaps now the message is starting to take hold.

“It shows that, yes, people are living outside, in the cold, with nothing,” Eldridge said. “This might help a little bit.”

Harvest House offers a place to stay for folks who are in need of a warm bed and a roof over their heads. It’s tough, grueling work but Eldridge keeps at it.

“The reason I help is because people helped me when I was in need, when I was younger,” she said. “We lived on welfare and people helped us. So, God placed it on (me) to help others, and regardless of what nationality you are, everybody needs help.”

Eldridge said she’s housed a few refugees, many from eastern Europe, who are fleeing that part of the world for a variety of reasons.

“To see that they were in need, even when it comes to learning English, I’m not much of a teacher but, I was there to help them,” she said. “I realized that there’s a whole big world out there and a lot of hurting people.”

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