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Huron Out of the Cold

Visting Artist from February - March 2023

by Judy Barker 

Have you ever taken a moment to wonder….where would I sleep if I was homeless? I usually entertain such thoughts when in Toronto, where every subway grate at this time of the year is covered by the temporary “home” of a person living out in the cold. 

Its unimaginable, to those of us keeping warm in our cosy homes, that because of individual circumstances, there are people who either choose, or are forced, to live outdoors, in all kinds of weather. And, that in fact, there are nearly 200 such individuals right here, in Huron County. 

There are no subway grates here to sit on, to try to keep warm. And while these individuals can access a warm place to sleep, a shower, and a hot meal at Lakeshore United Church each night, they still face 12 full hours outside in cold, wind, sleet, snow, rain, or ice pellets, without shelter or a warm spot to rest. And yet, there are many who are simply unable to accept shelter indoors. 

For Bernice Glen, this is not an imaginary scenario, its personal. You see,  her son has chosen to live as a homeless person. Its hard to imagine any parent’s worry on rainy, blustery, or freezing nights, to know that a child is “out in the cold”. 

Bernice decided a few years ago, that she could still help her son, indirectly, by helping others. She has been creating Beach Glass necklaces, proceeds from the sale of which, are donated to programs for people in need. Programs such as “Choices for Change”, responsible for nightly shelter accommodations at Lakeshore United Church, Goderich. The Women’s Shelter, Mental Heath Services, The United Way Huron-Perth, “Out of the Cold” all organizations which provide help for those in need, including the 200 homeless individuals in Huron County.

Beach glass from the lakes is a diminishing treasure, since the introduction of plastics, and the current laws of recycling. Its rare to walk the beaches now, and come home with a handful of beach glass. So a beach glass necklace is a true local treasure. 

Bernice Glen will be joined by some creative friends, also fund raising for Out of the Cold programs, who have created driftwood sculptures, and window ornaments, using resources provided by nature in an original and inventive manner, to fund-raise for the programs. Come for a visit to the GCG and see for yourself what creative hands can produce using natural “found” elements. 

If you encounter a homeless individual, please stop, and take a moment to lend a hand, offer a meal, purchase a gift card from a restaurant, a pair of socks, a scarf, warm gloves, information about where to access resources. You can also offer your support by visiting the Goderich CoOp Gallery, Wednesday through Saturday, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., to purchase some of the items created by Bernice and friends to take home, as a daily reminder, to think, to plan, and to consider, each time you use the item, what more can I contribute to help the homeless. 

Beach glass pendants by Bernice Glenn are available, "Retro Buttons & Glass Works" by Shirley Schat-Knoop and beach glass driftwood ornaments by Cheryl Dunn.
All proceeds from the art works on offer at the gallery will be donated to Coldest Night of the Year.

 Are you interested in applying to be a guest artist? Click here for more information.

(519) 440-0523 54 Courthouse Square (lower level), Goderich, Ontario, Canada © 2014. Goderich Coop Gallery. All Rights Reserved.