Square One Community Inc. has announced their next fundraiser will be a Walk for Warmth, to take place in the downtown Moose Jaw core on the evening of March 9 — chairperson Della Ferguson said community support is crucial.
“We’re giving ourselves time with this one, because we really want to build this up within our community,” Ferguson said. “It will take this entire village to make this happen.”
The Walk for Warmth will begin — no matter the weather — at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 9 on the steps of Zion United Church at 423 Main St N. The Walk will then circle the periphery of Crescent Park, make a stop at St. Andrew’s United Church, and end at St. Aidan Anglican Church at 124 1st Avenue NE.
The stop at St. Andrew’s will be for a short memorial service in memory of community members who have lost their lives while unhoused or struggling with their mental health or with addictions.
There are four ways the community can contribute to the Walk for Warmth:
- Business sponsorships
- Individual pledges
- Team pledges
- Memorial names and photos
“The program starts at 7 p.m. on the steps of Zion United Church. And that’s all-weather, because that’s the reality (for the unhoused),” Ferguson said. “And then we’re going to walk via the sidewalks to St. Andrew’s steps where we’re going to have a brief memorial.
“We’re inviting folks, if they would like, to send us a picture to be included in that memorial.”
After the walk around the edge of Crescent Park, a short conclusion to the program will take place at St. Aidan’s with hot drinks and snacks available.
Ferguson said that Square One has already received registrations for two teams and an individual, which is encouraging.
Registration can completed, and pledge forms downloaded, at www.squareonehousingmoosejaw.com/walkforwarmth.
Square One team members will be collecting pledges on March 9 in the main lobby of Zion United Church between 4 and 6 p.m. Ferguson noted that if that time does not work for a business, team, or individual, they can email firstname.lastname@example.org for different arrangements.
All of Square One’s fundraising efforts contribute to their twin goals of establishing a warming shelter and a dedicated women’s shelter in Moose Jaw.
Square One has adopted a harm reduction-associated approach of Housing First for their shelter goals. Homelessnesshub.ca explains Housing First as (emphasis/punctuation original to source):
“a rights-based intervention rooted in the philosophy that all people deserve housing, and that adequate housing is a precondition for recovery. The approach affirms that stable housing is a primary need, and that issues, such as addictions or mental health, can be better addressed once this need is fulfilled.”
Since its founding in 2020, Square One has worked with the City of Moose Jaw, emergency services, other community-based organizations, agencies, local MLAs, and more to try and establish safe shelter for Moose Jaw’s housing-insecure population. Ferguson said she and the Square One board feel the responsibility keenly, and are regularly contacted by people looking for “a glimmer of hope” that things will change soon.
It is difficult, she admitted, to keep telling them that no, it hasn’t happened yet.
“We have to believe that we’re on the right track, and that we’re making progress,” Ferguson added. “We’re just going to keep doing it. We’re going to keep reaching out and keep working with our community until it happens.
“I want to believe that right now, people are talking and team-building, and we’re just waiting to hear from them. I trust that our community is going to stand and walk with us (on March 9), in person.”
[Square One maintains a list of resources available to the unhoused on their website at www.squareonehousingmoosejaw.com/copy-of-housing as part of the City of Moose Jaw’s Cold Weather Strategy. The list includes contact numbers and advice for concerned citizens on who to call if a person who is un-housed or housing-insecure is in danger from the weather.]