“I don’t like the snow anymore.” Mikey pouts, his breath freezing on the morning air. “It’s too cold.”
More snow had fallen overnight on Wednesday, the quiet dusty kind that secretly fills flowerpots and leaves a slippery layer on the sidewalk. He changes his mind after school on Thursday and wants to build a snowman. We begin pushing the snow together, but give up as our fingers begin to go numb through our gloves. The snowman is left as just a torso on the grass outside our apartment building.
Instead of snowman building we decide to walk out to the end of our street, wandering in and out of a few stores to look at Christmas decorations and gifts. As we leave one of the stores we hear a “Ho Ho Ho!” caught on the wind, coming from somewhere behind us. Mikey swings around to look and there is Santa, a block away from where we are standing, making his way around the neighbourhood in a pedicab.
Santa pulls up to where we are waiting and stops the pedicab. Mikey gets to sit with him for just a little while, until more children appear and begin to form a line to wait their turn. We return home, Mikey with a candy cane in his hand and a smile on his face… the the bitterly cold air, snow and the half-built snowman all but forgotten.
The weather forecast for next Monday night is for more snow and below freezing temperatures. That night, my husband and some of his friends from the Columbia College Chicago Student Veterans Society will be sleeping out on the streets for 24 hours to raise awareness and money to benefit Chicago Homeless Veterans. From the fundraising website:
Close to 30 percent of all homeless people have served in the U.S. Armed Forces at some point in their life. We asked them to sacrifice so much for us and when they return home our heroes are reduced to living on the streets.
Veterans Day just passed by, but the issues the veteran community is facing cannot be addressed in one day.
For more information or to donate to benefit homeless veterans in Chicago you can visit the fundraising website here:
A write-up/article on the sleep out from Columbia College Chicago can be found here:
Any and all help is appreciated, please feel free to share the link to the fundraising website.