It was certainly a chilly night this past Halloween.
While covering the Better Together Food Drive that collects food the Moose Jaw and District Food Bank, I went out for a bit with a team to grasp the feel of the experience. I was outside going door knocking with the team to grab the photo and information that appeared in Thursday’s paper.
After I had what I needed, I got back in the Times-Herald vehicle and drove back to the office. I hadn’t been out there long, but I was so cold that my hands were turning purple. While I admit my hands do have a natural tendency to be colder than normal, other people who stepped out into the frigid air agreed that it was very cold outside.
To think, I was only outside with the team for no more than half an hour. When I went back to Hillcrest Apostolic Church around 9 p.m., the last of the volunteers were just coming in. I know the weather only got colder as the night went on.
Yet close to 450 volunteers went out on the streets for three hours — and that doesn’t include however many trick-or-treaters were on the streets as well.
I have to applaud all of those volunteers who were out collecting food for the food bank in the cold weather for those three hours. There are lots of hungry people out there who will greatly benefit from the hard work of the volunteers in the cold.
Fortunately, the team I accompanied was dressed appropriately for the cold weather. But it also got me thinking about people who are on a tight budget with low incomes who might not be able to afford proper winter clothing and how lucky those of us who can afford it really are.
It is only the beginning of November. There is no doubt in my mind that it will only get colder from here. Overexposure to the cold can do a lot more harm than have hands turn purple until they get warmer. Extreme cases include frostbite, frostnip and hypothermia. According to Environment Canada, more than 80 people die each year from overexposure to the cold.
Of course, we are not at those extreme temperatures yet. While the winter might end up being mild, even now before winter truly begins, the risk of freezing is still there. If anyone is out in the cold for a long enough period of time with exposed skin and without adequate clothing, the risk is increased even when it isn’t -30 Celsius.
Food, clothing and shelter are three of the most fundamental aspects of life. The simple fact that I was cold in a way that was neither life- or health-threatening is petty when I think of the people who don’t have the luxury of wearing proper attire or having a nice, hot meal to warm them up and nourish them.
Way to go, Moose Jaw, for giving items to the food bank. There are people who also donate used clothing for people in need. Kudos goes in the highest regard to people like that who dedicate their time and resources to help those less fortunate. Your efforts do not — and never should — go unappreciated.