The annual fund- and consciousness-raiser 5 Days For The Homeless is on again and plucky, smelly, disheveled university kids were out on the mall at lunchtime collecting donations for Carmichael Outreach. Sitting on blankets and being cold in my little photograph there are U of R students Brady Johnson and Marit Johnson, who were very friendly and upbeat.
( I didn’t get their last names when we talked; I found that out later online. So I don’t know if they’re related. Or maybe they’re like the Ramones. Maybe all the homeless kids this year have the surname Johnson.)
During 5 Days For The Homeless several university students live outside without cell phones (except for an emergency phone for safety), showers or baths, food (beyond what kind well-wishers donate) and money. The event was founded in 2005 by University of Alberta business students concerned about homelessness and the commonly-held perception that lots of business people are scumbag greedheads who don’t care about things like homelessness. In 2010, the event reportedly raised almost $183,000 for charities.
5 Days For The Homeless continues until Friday. I encourage prairie dog readers to donate. Our small staff (three people plus one honourary-staffer) contributed almost everything in our wallets: a sad $35 in total. They could definitely use more help.
One last thing: Obviously, this is a great event. BUT. There is a despicable irony here I must point out. While good-hearted business (and other) students participate in this U of R business school supported event for five days, the business community at large continues to lobby for tax cuts year-round. Tax cuts reduce our governments’ revenue and therefore their abilities to address social problems. For example, just a few days ago the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce defended $80 million in Tory tax cuts. Excuse me, I thought we had homelessness, poverty, health care delivery issues and other social problems that need money.
Anyway, I don’t want to repeat myself and I wrote on this last year. You can read my 2010 rant here. As often happens it veers off into Tourette’s Syndrome territory. Sorry about that. That Whitworth, he gets worked up about stuff.