Blog: Keeping Warm at Kids Kottage
By: Janine Fraser, Executive Director
For most of us in Edmonton, the last few days of extreme cold have been uncomfortable, as we deal with malfunctioning cars, frosted windows, and bitterly cold fingers, toes and noses. In Canada, we brace ourselves for this kind of weather, we know it could happen at any time (and hopefully, only in winter). We are used to pulling out the snow pants and layering up and going about our business as usual.
For vulnerable populations, however, this type of weather can have severe and devastating consequences. It seems like our city’s supports for the homeless kick into high gear the lower the temperature drops, ensuring that those who have nowhere else to go have access to a warm place to wait out the cold.
At Kids Kottage, we see the effects of this weather too.
For a family living in poverty, extreme cold brings them that much closer to being unable to ensure that they are providing their children with what those children need to stay safe. A broken furnace is a catastrophe, one that cannot be easily remedied when there simply isn’t any money to get it fixed.
So many of the families who reach out to us for help have to make tough decisions this time of year – like whether to fill a prescription for a sick little one or pay a utilities bill. If the heat gets turned off, it’s only a matter of time in weather like this before those little ones are too cold to function.
We keep those children warm here at the Kottage. They stay with us and we dress them in the coats, snow suits, mittens and hats they need. We feed them warm meals and tuck them into warm beds and ensure that, no matter what is going on at home, those children are safe and warm and ready to go home when home is warm again. Without their children’s suffering to worry about, their caregivers are better equipped to meet the challenge they are facing head-on, and we support them in that process too.
Times are tough in Edmonton, and the cold just makes them tougher. I’m so grateful that we are here and able to make sure these children stay safe and their little fingers, toes and noses stay warm, no matter how cold it gets outside.