Sometimes it’s easy for us to take our basic comforts for granted. Most of us are lucky enough to have food, shelter, and warmth during the winter months.
However, the North Surrey Tigers football team gets a first-hand look at what it’s like to lack those basic amenities.
The junior boys football team practices at Tom Binnie Park in Surrey, just one block away from tent city in Whalley. Two times a week, the football team goes there to practice, passing by some of Surrey’s less fortunate.
“Often we show up in many layers, with hot drinks in our hand, when it dawned on me that not even one block away, people were sleeping outside cold, wet and hungry,” said Shar Jaggard, mother of one of the Tigers’ players.
“After seeing that, I knew we had to do something,” she said. “I thought it would be great it we all went out and distributed food, drinks, blankets and socks.”
Jaggard then inquired about organizing a night where the team could gather volunteers and go help out at tent city.
She was overwhelmed by the response from other parents.
“This team went above and beyond anything I could ever do on my own,” she said.
The Tigers, along with about 30 parent volunteers, gathered supplies and went down to tent city, off of 135A street in Whalley, to hand out food, warm drinks and clothing items to some of the homeless in the area,
Judging by their counts, they fed approximately 250 people in the area,
“Many of the homeless people said it was like Christmas for them,” said Jaggard. “My team provided a hot meal, hot drinks, snacks, juice and water to go. As well as new socks, gloves, toques and donations of jackets and blankets.”
Jaggard mentions that not only was it a rewarding experience to give back to people they see on a regular basis, but it was an eye-opening experience for the players to hear stories from the homeless.
“One man had shared that he used to be a great tennis player, and when he stopped playing he got into drugs and his life went downhill. I think that was really eye opening for them,” she said.
“Our team has some at risk youth players and it was great for some them to see and to talk to these homeless people and hear their stories and how they ended up there.”
Aside from the heart-wrenching stories, there were some heart-warming moments during the evening.
“My favorite part was when this sweet woman was singing to the boys and then the boys joined in,” Jaggard said.
“It was really touching.”
“I think the message we were trying to send is that we see and care, and also that we are trying to prevent our youth from going down the same road through football.”
“When people come together great things can happen.”