Nova Scotia

Halifax citizens at risk connect

About 500 people living in poverty in Halifax were given a chance Sunday to focus on their own health and well-being.

About 500 people living in poverty in Halifax were given a chance Sunday to focus on their own health and well-being.

A group of volunteer nurses, doctors, teachers and community service workers gathered at Citadel High School to offer their help to anyone who came through the doors.

Halifax Connects featured a mini emergency room and family doctor's office, a free clothing boutique, and a sit-down hot lunch sponsored by the World Trade and Convention Centre.

Meghan Laing, co-chair of the group that organizes the event twice a year, said 250 people got free haircuts, and many had photographs taken afterward.

"We had one lady who sent a photo home to her grandchildren who had never seen her before ... so she was really proud because she was all gussied up," said Laing.

"We all take for granted the little things. We take a shower every day, we have breakfast, lunch and dinner. These are things many of these people would have to line up for.

"A haircut is expensive, so it's not something they would focus their dollars on. As well, the transportation today — getting out to a lot of these services is prohibitive for a lot of people, so Metro Transit donated bus service, and Ambassatours also brought people in from shelters outside the area," explained Laing.

Laing said foot care was also in high demand at the event, because many of those who came didn't have proper footwear.

"It's either really worn or it's really wet, they're on their feet all day ... not a lot of these people have socks — so you're wearing bare feet and shoes and walking around all day," said Laing.

Over 40 organizations took part in the event. Organizers hope Halifax Connects will create the opportunity for an ongoing connection between those who participate and the agencies involved.

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