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Giving Back on the Streets

Gerald Jorgensen says it's been almost exactly one year since he entered a 12-step recovery program that he credits with keeping him off the streets and away from drugs.


3/21/20241 min read

This is a preview of the original article posted on CBC Ottawa by Joseph Tunney. Read the full article here.

Every week, Jorgensen loads up his wagon with food and other supplies and walks the streets, sometimes providing aid to people he knows from his past life. He attributes his substance use problems to early childhood trauma, and says the death of his mother and a car crash that left his truck totalled started him on a downward spiral.

By age 47, he had no sustainable income. He said he initially became homeless in Brockville, Ont., in 2020, living with various acquaintances before ending up in encampments. As someone who has had "absolutely nobody or nothing," Jorgensen said he knows what it can mean for someone to stop to talk, provide some food and make a human connection.

He says sometimes when he's done his rounds, he'll sit in his car and reflect on how grateful he is to now be able to provide others with that connection. "For me to come out here and hand out some clean clothes, give some food ... and talk to people and meet them where they're at, can make a big difference in somebody's day," he said.

"I know it made a big difference in mine."

He's back on the streets, this time to give back.