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Helping the region’s vulnerable with Homeless Connect

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“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.

Famous Bengali writer, Rabindranath Tagore’s words rang so true at the Homeless Connect. The ninth annual event was held at MacDonald Island, where over 40 local service providers who work with the homeless, or those at risk of homelessness converged to help the region’s most vulnerable individuals.

Booths featured a variety of services ranging from free winter coats, jackets, and mittens to free haircuts, nail care, food, and housing information.

Nicole Hinks, Social Program Advisor with the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) helped organize the event. She appreciated the local organizations who came together to make it happen.

“Homeless Connect is planned by a committee of local social agencies without whom this wouldn’t be possible. These are: RMWB, Alberta Health Services, Choices, Centre of Hope, Wood Buffalo Wellness Society, Salvation Army, Support Through Housing Team, Wood Buffalo Food Bank, YMCA, Woods Homes, and Career Leap.”

Hinks says the event helps social agencies learn about each other too, which makes it easier to send referrals, and build connections.

There were 140 patrons who attended Homeless Connect last year, and this year the number surpassed 200.

“It’s good to see people being helped, but it’s sad that we need this event. We are always looking for donations. Gift cards, backpacks, and such things are always needed.”

For more information, or to donate, please contact Nicole via


Kiran Malik-Khan is the Communications Manager for the Fort McMurray Public School District, and national award-winning communications professional. She is a freelance journalist, a communications professional, and a poet. She loves sharing stories about unique people, events, and organizations. Kiran is the co-founder and volunteer public relations director for NorthWord magazine, Fort McMurray's first and only literary magazine. She is also the President/Co-founder of World Hijab Day Fort McMurray. A proud Pakistani-Canadian who grew up in New Jersey, she is a fierce advocate of Fort McMurray, multiculturalism, women's rights, and equality for all. Got a story nobody is telling? Send her ideas: DM and follow on Twitter @KiranMK0822.