Would you survive the deep freeze if left outside the whole night?
That question changed one Red Deer College student’s perspective.
The day started with the blues, given the freezing temperatures. It meant Pradeesha Marlin Gnanasekeran was grumpy. Even little things like the walk from the house to the car got to her.
But when she got to school and the professor posed a question for the second-year nursing class, the student was inspired.
She and her friend John Macabinguel decided to go shopping for gloves, tuques, winter coats, heat packs, socks and snacks, splitting $250 equally, and donate them to Red Deer’s homeless population.
The duo stopped by Safe Harbour Society and The Mustard Seed and handed out all the items.
Over the weekend, Safe Harbour Society put an emergency request on social media, as the agency was short on gloves and tuques.
The winter gear the friends handed out went fast, and when people were asking if there were more pairs of gloves, it broke the 22-year-old’s heart.
“It made me see how many people are out there who didn’t have a place to stay tonight, and me fussing about the five-minute walk from my house to my car, and they’re there for hours.”
The donation added meaning to her day.
“I felt like I actually did something – there was some purpose to that day. I wasn’t just getting up, going to school, doing my work and coming back and complaining,” she said.
The donation also motivated her to do more.
But she realizes that as a student, she can only do so much. So she is looking to the community to help her do more. Her GoFundMe page has a $2,000 goal. As of Tuesday afternoon, it had reached $420.
The student said she will stop by and pick up any winter items that people want to donate in the Red Deer and Lacombe areas.
“With your help, every week, we will be able to distribute items that will facilitate the basic needs of the homeless people in Red Deer. I would be so grateful if you can donate just a small amount to support and change our community,” her page states.
Those wanting to donate any items can reach out to her on Facebook: Pradeesha Marlin.