Do you Recognize me?

By Tessa Blaikie Whitecloud
January 4, 2018

You may have heard a pipe burst in Augustine United Church so we were not at our usual location but instead had spent the day hauling all the mats over to Crossways in Common and setting up there.


It was during the lull between volunteer training ending and the first intake of Just a Warm Sleep. It’s our second year so I don’t know that I can call it a tradition but we do the first shift together but Haley and I.


Haley is amazing like you! She’s coordinating all the volunteers – making Just a Warm Sleep possible thanks to your financial backing!


I wasn’t taking notes, as the scene unfolded but here’s how I remember it:

A man walked by the windows at Crossways. He glanced inside. He was wearing a parka undone on top of another parka. He hesitated – then trying his luck – knocked.


Haley opened the door for him with a big smile – “Hey there! Come on in!”

Let’s call this man Jim.

Jim says to Haley – “Do you recognize me?”

Haley – self-assured says –” I’m sorry but I don’t think we’ve met.”

Jim- “But you just let me in… why did you let me in?”

Haley – “Anyone can sleep inside here – do you need a warm place to sleep?”

Jim – “Even though you don’t know me ?  I get to stay here? I get to sleep inside..?” His face was shocked. We asked him if we could read him the code of conduct and explain the rules of the space. He’d have to agree to them to stay – I’m glad I read them to him – it’s our practice so no one feels singled out for not being able to read, and when it came time to sign in I could tell he couldn’t.


He sat down and looked at me.

Jim “Do you recognize me?”

Me: “Have you been to West Broadway Community Services before I think you’re familiar and I’m often around here dropping in and out.”

Jim “Ya I’ve come here – for food…… .. So I can sleep here – how’s that a thing?”

Me:  “Honestly a bunch of really awesome people donated money so we could hire security and volunteers like Haley hang out so people can come inside and sleep”

Jim: “ Right but do you recognize me – I came here as a child for Sunday School,

I grew up in this church.”

Me: “Oh…I grew up at Transcona Memorial United Church not here – but I bet we have some Sunday school lessons in common.”


After staying to warm up and visit a while Jim asked if he could leave. Which he can at any time with re-entry up until 11pm.

Jim “I’ll be back I’m going to go tell some friends none of us have to sleep outside”

While Jim was gone – the next sleeper walked in (lets call him Wayne).

Wayne: “Hey Haley! Sure glad this is Back”

Haley: “Hey Wayne! So nice to see you again!”

Wayne: “ Saw the sign at Augustine, walked over – Ready to lay down”


Haley turned to me; “Wayne’s the nicest guy – one of our regulars”


Your generosity is the only thing that allows this program to happen! We’re still shy of our goal right now but are happy to report the entire $5000 of matching funds was raised.

Thank you!

« « THE PIPES HAVE BURST – CARRY ON WE MUST! | Plarning math homework » »

One response to “Do you Recognize me?”

  1. Bonnie hallman says:

    Hi – just made a donation – so sorry to hear about the burst pipes! I was wondering – could the folks use some hats, mitts and scarves? I’ve got some here I’d like to donate and am knitting more hats – was going to drop them off at Augustine but maybe should be at Crossways instead?

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