Giving Angel (A Guest Reflection by Bea Gauthier)

Harm reduction describes specific measures taken to allow those with limited access to important resources to obtain the things they need. These things could include warm clothes, hygiene products, food, syringes for those who take drugs, and much more.

I believe that Sackville United Church should get involved in harm reduction efforts. As a young, kind-hearted person who has witnessed poverty but has no means to help with the problem, knowing there is a place nearby where those in need can find what they’re looking for helps put my mind at ease.

I recall a day a few years ago when my mother and I went to see a play in Charlottetown, and as we walked along the streets to the theatre there were at least half a dozen people sitting on the sidewalks asking for cash. If I had had any, or anything at all that might have helped them, I would’ve given it to them right away. But I had nothing, so all I could do was offer them a smile. Then again there was another instance when I was younger still, driving into Moncton with my father. We stopped at a red light and there was an old man by the side of the road who looked sick and cold. We made eye contact through the window, and I just remember how sad he looked. I felt compelled to help, maybe ask my father if we could give him some money, but in that moment the light turned green and we drove away.

What I’m trying to say is, I don’t want to see this in my own community. If someone comes up to me asking for help, even if I cannot give them anything, I would like to know that there is a place where they can get what they need and that I could direct them to. I think setting up a harm reduction machine, as it is called, is a very good idea, and a way to ensure that this little town is connected through its members helping one another in these difficult times.

Bea Gauthier

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