by Ken Hirter

With the cold, cold, cold of Winter with the snow and the winds with it’s chill in the air, January is now upon us all.

This month’s Walkabout is “The Out of the Cold Program”

Origin: Launched almost 30 years ago as a project at St. Michael’s College in Toronto.

What is the Out of the Cold Program, it is a faith based volunteer driven program that provides hot meals, hospitality and refuge from the streets during the cold winters months.

“Guest are treated with Care, Respect and without Judgement”

My first introduction to this wonderful program was when I volunteered as a server for a Christmas Eve dinner in the early 1990’s. The experience left me in awe as everyone was so thankful and full of Christmas Cheer & Spirit despite having very little taught me GRADITUDE.

During the winters months of November-January of 2012-2013 with circumstances beyond my control I found myself at the receiving end to now being a guest. The meals were wonderful, the volunteers were simply the best. The experience taught me APPRECIATION.

The Out of the Cold Program first opened its doors on December 01st 1997 here in Hamilton as Churches & Synagogue opened their doors to those in need and to get out of the cold. A warm meal was served with room left over for seconds. Not all the people that I met were homeless, they were those living on Welfare, ODSP, Disability Insurance and pensioners living on a fixed income and those just struggling to make ends meet.

For scheduling and locations visit their webpage Out of the Cold. The program runs from the beginning of November until the end of March. Here close to Hamilton’s North End Christ Church Cathedral offers a dinner on Saturday’s.

As we ring in 2018 it was the experience and lesson’s that I will always remember. Those years taught me two valuable lessons in my life was GRADITUDE AND APPRECIATION!

Life is a series of ups and downs, trials and tribulations as well as joys and happiness too. We never know what life’s designs or what is in store for us down the way on this path I call life.

I am grateful today for a roof over my head and those whom extended a helping hand when I needed a hand to get back on my feet I thank you. Happy New Year 2018 everyone and remember if you can cope there is hope.

Till next month, take care of you and those around you. Cheers