LEFSA is yet again hosting another group of nursing students from the College of Mount St. Vincent, starting this January. The group will be with us for the next 5 weeks, volunteering in shelters and working on a final health presentation for the community.
Deborah Canty, team member, who facilitates groups at Women’s Assessment Shelter, remarks that the two students who came in with her were very enthusiastic and that they made women feel at ease, having legitimate concerns about their health. They also expressed their gratitude for the experience, because it gives them an outlook at what people are going through and prepares them to advocate for their patients in the future.
This week Debbie and Mario were also able to bring to the women’s shelter a lot of recent donations, such as hats, gloves, socks, scarves and coats. The students did outreach in the shelter and arranged the donations so that they would be accessible to the ladies from our gathering.
Bringing donations of new clothing like this to shelters is so helpful, and we are glad whenever we receive new things we can give out. You see the real need for these types of items, especially in an assessment shelter which is a place of first contact with the shelter system. Many people come into the shelter with only the clothes on their backs, and some women experienced so much trauma, abuse, domestic violence and loss. Many don’t have much, and new clean clothes help to keep their dignity intact. So many feel helpless, and having clean clothes is essential for preserving their dignity in this situation.
Debbie recalls various examples of women she came across who needed those basic necessities. The ages of the women in the Assessment Shelter vary, but you can really see how homelessness can touch anyone and everyone. There are women there as young as 19, and also elderly women in their 70s who have lost everything. Ladies sometimes have no socks or shoes when they come in. Recently we saw someone wrapped up in a blanket, because she did not have a coat, so it was a blessing to be able to distribute the coats as well as socks during our recent gatherings. It can be painful to watch, but we come in every week and create hope and try to make people feel at ease.