With the arrival of autumn and all falling of leaves, we prepare our minds for our favorite season, ‘Winters’. The sound of crushing leaves under the feet feels like music to the ears. It is that time of the year where you get to show off your baggy hoodies, fancy coats, and scarves. After all, who doesn’t love winter and its fashion? Some days it’s all snow, some days it’s all fog, and some days a slight beam of sunlight makes you feel
more alive. It is the season you enjoy all the hot beverages throughout the day and your tongue doesn’t feel burnt. We consider winters to be the perfect time to stay at home but, unfortunately, not everyone
bears the comfort of having a home. To them, winters bring misery and deprivation. The atrocities of these homeless people are spine chilling. And thus, addressing these issues need to be prioritized.
Remember when as kids, during winter vacations we used to listen to grandma’s stories sitting next to the fire, while she used to knit socks and sweaters for us. That was one of everyone’s
favorite childhood moments. Older people are undoubtedly a treasure to the family. Their hearts are of gold and they preach wisdom from the best of their life’s experiences to the
younger generation. Our grandparents are privileged enough to have shelter at this age and in this weather. Most importantly, they have a family that takes care of them and has their back. Life doesn’t treat everyone likewise. There are thousands of young men and women who spend
all the winters on the street struggling and fighting with this harsh cold. But this becomes even more life-endangering when they grow old. With the passage of time, their immunity doesn’t remain intact. The only thing winter brings for these abandoned people is a fight to stay alive.
As much as it is our favorite season of the year, it is unforgivingly harsh for those who are on the streets. Not just humans but some animals too.
Weeks before winter even arrives, we start buying woolens, room heaters, water geysers, and
all the other items that could probably protect us from the freezing cold. We may even go a
little out of budget for them. But what about those who are barely able to afford their one-time bread? How would they prepare themselves to fight the woes of winter? In most cases, these people end up curling together, in a single sheet of the blanket with their thin bodies clustering next to each other. Sometimes even the strays try sneaking in, to escape the
shivery weather. In the end, these people become prone to dehydration, frostbite, and hypothermia. This forlornness not risks the physical health of an individual but is also a threat to their mental soundness. It could leave a lifelong impact on their mind for the rest of their lives.
Old age is a sensitive phase of life that demands comfort and care. During this time, physical disease is not the only responsible factor that could lead to the downfall of the health of old people. The reason that often goes unnoticed is the negligence from the younger generation. Many people
abandon elders making them wander for a life of dignity, shelter, food, and clothes. Winters add up to the contempt. The night you are snuggling in your warm Pj’s under the blanket, next to the blower, someone on the roadside is shivering and battling the weather in torn clothes. We as a
society need to come together and show compassion for these people. Neither somebody
chooses to be homeless, nor does someone deserve it. Just sympathizing with these people won’t make a difference. Situations like this call for a well-planned solution.
What we can do?
Although a number of NGOs and social groups along with governmental assistance are operating at all levels and areas, they haven’t been able to make much impact. It would require a bigger course of action at the individual level, to revive the lives of those on the streets, not just the elderly but young men, women as well as animals. Try donating warm clothing to a shelter, provide something hot to drink or eat, you can maybe make a care package for them (something that has certain fruits, biscuits, medicines, etc), or at least you could call the emergency contact number (whichever works in your state) in case you see someone in
immediate danger. An idea of danger could be when someone is unconscious and unresponsive. And remember to be kind. Even if you are unable to help them physically or financially, the least you could do to boost their endurance is to show generosity and smile back whenever you can.
The government has come up with some appreciable programs and initiatives to work for the betterment of homeless old people like the construction of new old age homes, Deendayal Antyodya Yojna, Rain Basera, NULM, etc. We at WORDSMITH FOUNDATION are an organization solely dedicated to our pledge of helping the underprivileged. Our area of social service is not only limited to our author community but to various other deprived sections of society. We have recently organized a successful donation drive in Ayodhya, wherein our volunteers placed 4 pickup points across the city. Considering the above-stated situation and current weather conditions, we are planning for a blanket donation drive. We will ask people to donate their old blankets, which we would get dry cleaned and then distribute among the ones on street. We would also add a few new blankets to the collection from the foundation’s fund. This is an initiative by us to help those who have been cast aside by the simple privileges of life. After all, winters may be the hot chocolates and cozy blanket weather for you, but it brings a vulnerability to many others.