Posted by Sheila Newel on Dec 29, 2018
For most of us December 21st is the shortest day of the year, but for those living rough - on the streets or in shelters - it's the longest night of the year.  Cold and hunger and how to combat them become the common ground for people living rough and they form bonds, friendships, and informal support groups.   When one of their group is missing, it can hard for them to find out what happened to that person, many of whom died.  

Ryan White, Reporter / Producer @CTVRyanWhite reported that this year, a 'Longest Night of the Year' event "brought current and former homeless Calgarians together to pay tribute to those who lost their lives on the streets.  The service, which was held outside Calgary city hall early Friday evening, honoured the memory of more than 130 people who have passed in recent years.  The names of the deceased, whether it be their birth name or the name they were known by in homeless circles, was read aloud in a display of respect and dignity.  Nigel Kirk, organizer of the event, says homeless Calgarians are at great risk as they can face exposure to the elements, addiction, mental illness, and a dehumanizing attitude towards the homeless."

Rotary Club of Calgary North did what they could to help, gathering to serve coffee, hot chocolate, rice, and chili to the attendees.  This was the first of what might well be an annual event and we were proud to be of service.