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Giving Back to the Community with Greater Love Dalhousie

The importance of showing love to everyone in the community this February

February is a month of snowstorms, cold weather and love. Having a home and warm meals is a privilege that not everyone gets to experience. Greater Love Dalhousie is a society that strives to bring attention to the massive housing crisis occurring in Halifax and provide snacks for people in need. 

Every Saturday, volunteers meet at noon in front of the Halifax Public Gardens. Some volunteers participate every week, while others show up whenever they are available, which makes being a part of this society very flexible. 

At the beginning of each Saturday outreach session, each volunteer grabs a few pre-made snack bags. The group then walks down Spring Garden Road, handing out snack bags to individuals in need. If the individual is up for it, a conversation is started to check in with them to confirm they are doing okay. 

Charlotte Arsenault, president of Greater Love Dalhousie, has been involved with this society for three years and mentioned that the number of people who are seen out and about during outreaches is at an all-time high. 

“We are going through snack bags faster than we ever have,” said Arsenault. “We understand that our outreaches do not solve the real issue, but we are doing what we can do, which is bring attention to what is going on, and let those affected know that they are not alone.”

Arsenault started with the society when she saw them doing outreach one Saturday three years ago. Seeing the group of volunteers walking down Spring Garden Road struck her as a beautiful sight.   

“The relationship the general population has with those experiencing homelessness has always been a cause that resonated with me, and here I had found such a simple yet effective way to extend a helping hand,” she said. “I immediately asked who they were working with and joined them on the next outreach!”

Showing kindness, love and a sense of community towards all people is key for all volunteers, and all students are welcome to join Greater Love Dalhousie. 

Grading the Experience

Scale of 1-10; 1 being little and 10 being larger

Time Commitment: 1

Skill: 2

Accessibility: 10

Enjoyment: 10

Overall Experience: 10

Concluding Thoughts

Being a part of the outreach helps to put everything in perspective. Getting wrapped up in the university lifestyle can cause you to forget what is truly important. This is a beneficial experience for all parties involved. 

“In just an hour-long outreach, being outside, unplugged, listening to stories and meeting new people, you gain a new appreciation for the things that you have, that you may have been taking for granted,” said Arsenault. “It is truly a humbling and heartwarming experience that I am very grateful to be a part of.”

If you want to spread kindness and love, try going to an outreach and giving back to the community. 

For more information about Greater Love Dalhousie, check out their Instagram @greaterlovedal. To get involved, you can sign up for the weekly outreach at the link in their bio.

If you are part of a society that you want me to explore or if there’s an activity you think I should try, please email your suggestions to nt743857@dal.ca.

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