How a shelter can be a saving grace

A volunteer writes,

Last February we had a fellow show up. It was a Sunday we were in the shelter getting ready to open. When we opened the doors he wasn’t the only one waiting to come in, but he stood out from the others. Unlike most of our guests he was not dressed well; his coat was tatters, boots worn, his snow pants had seen better days. He had nothing by way of clothing in his back pack.

He was a stocky man with haggard and weathered features, earned, I figure, from a lot of time out in the cold. He spoke deeply but kindly and politely.
We signed him in and got some items he could use. He cleaned up in the shower and then sat down to soup. What I remember was how quietly but happily he ate the soup–lots of it and what ever else we were conjuring up.
We talked for a bit and he told us he had got here by way of the Trans Canada Highway, all the way from Manitoba, hitch-hiking but a lot of it on foot. Two days at one point sleeping on the side of the highway. Getting to one town that figured they had enough troubles already and the police escorting him to the town limits, setting him again on another day and a half of walking. A trucker finally picked him up and dropped him of at Waubaushene, where he walked into Midland and the steps of us.
He was hungry and tired, didn’t sit at supper, made up a bed and was sound asleep through the night.
In the morning he had breakfast, thanked a few, and figured he’d head to south-western Ontario–Chatham rings a bell–and then he was gone. I’m certain he was here last year. If so, he knew where to go that he’d be taken care of.
If he had been here before, I’m sure we’ll see him again.
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