Sault Ste. Marie Helping Hands held their grand opening block party on Saturday afternoon.
This event included music, face painting, children’s activities, a BBQ, and lots of clothes for people to sift through.
“We’re trying to make as many people aware of what’s going on in the community as possible, because there’s 75,000 people in our community and people need the help, so we give away free food, clothes and household items. There’s just so much out there that needs to be made aware of,” said SSM Helping Hands founder, Wendy Gutcher. “We just want our community to be okay and not have to worry about ‘where am I going to eat next?’ and ‘where am I going to sleep next?’ You know, if you’re homeless, we will make sure we can find you clothes, food, household items. If you’ve been burned out, we’ll try to find an empty place somewhere for you to fill it up, live like a normal person, as well as if you’re a young teenage mom, and you need to start out with things. If you have nothing. As well as anybody who’s been a victim of abuse.”
Gutcher credits her huge heart for the creation of SSM Helping Hands.
“I said ‘I cannot believe that life is this hard. Like we shouldn’t have to live like this. Should not be hungry, should not walk around and worry about ‘where am i gonna eat, clothes, where am I gonna sleep?’ Nobody should have to worry. Those are necessity things of life. They should come just easy, she explained. “And I’m trying to make people’s lifestyles a little bit better and not worrying about any of it. So, instead of donating it somewhere where you’re going to pay bucks for it. This is free stuff. We’re not making any money off of anybody’s stuff. Everybody wants to just help people. We just want to help people and we want to make sure your stuff is going to go into a good place.”
SSM Helping Hands Director Roseanne Haryett said she believes having a resource like this in the city is critical.
“We can not express how many people are in need in the city. It’s so important. People reach out to us constantly, through all sorts of organizations, John Howard Society, Ontario Works, Disability. We’ve even had people from Sudbury, organizations from Sudbury send us people that are moving up to the Sault that are in very need of help. It’s a vital organization in this area. It has to be, because we have over 9,000 followers,” she expressed. “The downtrodden and the people that are struggling with their abuses need help, and we can’t ignore them.”
Anyone in need of assistance can reach out to Wendy at 705-943-8363 or Roseanne at 705-971-7882. They can also be reached on the SSM Helping Hands Facebook page.