As individuals across the globe struggle to navigate through these uncertain times, it’s become more important than ever to have a supportive and caring network to lean on.
Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a network readily available, which is why organizations like Youth Unlimited Toronto (YU) exist. YU supports vulnerable youth by connecting them with caring adults who will coach and mentor them, giving them the opportunity to reach their full potential.
In addition to their mentorship program, YU Toronto has a project called Light Patrol, which is an outreach plan for the homeless youth of Toronto. The main form of reaching these youth is by going to places where youth congregate in a large transformed motorhome that has hot meals, basic survival supplies, clothing and access to healthcare from volunteer registered nurses.
Bianca Armstrong, an outreach worker for Light Patrol, says that “Our hope is to build relationships with youth who call the street their home and to be a consistent, positive, encouraging presence in their lives, walking with them through their everyday ups and downs, supporting them in holistic transformation, however that may look.”
Because of the changes currently happening in the world, instead of delivering goods via RV, Light Patrol is sending out staff members on foot. These staff members are providing care packages to youth while maintaining their physical distances.
“This is hard, but not impossible, and frankly, we believe it’s necessary for our friends who have so little access to basic needs, like food, in these unprecedented times. These care packages will include things like sandwiches, snacks, water, socks, toilet paper, and gift cards to nearby grocery stores. We also want to encourage our friends, showing them that we are here for them and they are not alone during this crisis.”
Armstrong and her team are asking for donations, either by buying grocery cards to include in the care packages or donating through their website. Unfortunately, they have seen many meal programs and drop-in centres close or modify their hours.
For more information and ways to donate to Youth Unlimited Toronto and their programs such as Light Patrol can be found online