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Toronto shelter scores touchdown with Super Bowl dinner for homeless men

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Probably not so different from your Super Bowl knees-up on Sunday evening, except dry.

With the emphasis on dry – as in, out of the wet, the puddled sidewalks, the slushy snowbanks, the weeping concrete struts beneath the Gardiner Expressway.

A championship football extravaganza for the down and out, at the Good Shepherd shelter on Queen Street East, on the edge of Regent Park.

The good shepherd on this evening, as on most evenings, is Brother Tom Liss, director of shelter and hospitality for the past dozen years.

“After a week of miserable weather, we wanted to do something special to help lift their spirits.’’

A break in the frigid temperatures has also been a Godsend. For the month of January, the facility had been running at 99.9 per cent capacity.

Across the city, as of Friday when the “census was last updated”, there were 1,805 men, 789 women, 525 youth and 748 family units occupying shelter beds, according to the city’s shelter website, with another 2,153 staying at city-supported motels. It’s unknown the number who were “sleeping rough”, although the city pegs that figure at about 450 nightly.

You’ve seen them, with their bundles and bags, even king-size mattresses spread across the sidewalk, over heating grates, beneath the overpasses.

“There’s quite a few who just won’t come inside,’’ says Brother Tom. “They’re determined to survive on their own. I’ve never been able to understand it myself. Maybe they’ve had a bad experience in a shelter. Some are just dyed in the wool anti-government, don’t want anything to do with any organization. But most of them are pretty tough.’’

They drifted in, most of them alone. A few sit at the trestle tables with friends made but most are like little islands of solitude. A person comes to respect private space, when so much is so often a cluster.

“Can I sit on the stairs,’’ one young fellow asks a staffer. “That TV camera is scaring the s- – – out of me. My family can’t know I’m here.’’

“I’m here for the food, not the game,’’ says another bloke, hunkered over his plate.

“I’m a soccer fan, don’t know anything about football,’’ admits yet another.

Dressed in hoodies and toques, stripping off layers of clothes because many go about the streets wearing everything they own. Those who are actually staying at the premises are recognizable by their short sleeves and socked feet slipped into flip-flops. They just come down from upstairs, gathering in front a large-screen TV that, with speakers, has been donated by Rich Rabba, president of Rabba Fine Foods. The provisions have been sent over by vendors at the company’s 35 stores across the GTA.

The Rabba story is an immigrant-made-good story, founded by Rich’s father, who arrived in Canada in 1966 from the Middle East.

“To be honest, the idea of helping our fellow man is what motivated us to do this,’’ says Rabba. “There’s nothing that makes me any different from them, other than maybe luck.’’

Richard Zirgha is a refugee from Uganda. He arrived in Toronto a year ago. Actually, he landed in Vancouver where a good Samaritan gifted him $200. Put that together with the $250 in his pockets, travelled cross-country on the train, and headed straight for the Good Shepherd.

“Uganda is a beautiful country,’’ says the 35-year-old who trained as a mechanic back home, even ran his own garage. “But I’m gay. In Uganda, if they find out you’re gay, your life is over. You’ll end up dead. They found out, the police. I had to run, leave everything I owned behind.’’

Watching the wide-screen TV at the front of the dining hall, he tries hard to understand what’s going on. “This game, I’d never seen it before. I grew up playing hockey.’’

Vincent Cripps, 45, declares his loyalty to the CFL, not the NFL. He’s been drifting, from couch-surfing with friends to homeless, since 2014, when his wife died. “I’m a jack of all trades, always had a job before, a home. But the depression, you know? Everything just spiralled out of control.’’

This is his second night at Good Shepherd. “If I wasn’t here, I’d be on the street, love.”

Ken Harris, 54, from the Maritimes: Had his own place until recently, a unit in an Oshawa apartment building where he was employed as superintendent. “It didn’t work out.’’

Jeff Allen, 61: “I’m a hockey guy. Don’t even know who’s playing, to tell you the truth.’’

Homeless as of Feb. 1, when the rent money ran out.

So many sad stories, subsisting in the shadows, hard-scrabble.

And of course, a great many homeless are mentally ill – either because they started out that way, and ended up on the street, or the street got inside their head.

“Mental illness is prevalent,’’ says Brother Tom. “Sometimes I look around here and wonder if I’m at the emergency department of CAMH or Good Shepherd.’’

The facility has 95 beds – for men only – 25 of them designated for clients who are registered in the drug and alcoholic rehabilitation enhancement program. While alcohol is forbidden on the premises, the drunken aren’t turned away. “They don’t need to be sober,’’ says Brother Tom. “As long as they’re not disruptive.’’

Many are wait-listed for social housing. Between 50 and 60 per cent of residents are biding their time, waiting for permanent resettlement.

What they can’t do – as with all shelters, apart from drop-in centres – is while away the hours indoors, on-site. They’re turned out every morning at 8 a.m., so the building can be cleaned and prepared for the next wave of users. That’s why you see so many idle homeless shuffling around the area, congregating at nearby Moss Park.

The shelter operators aren’t being unkind but their resources only extend so far, while the need is ever-expanding. To convert the space into a 24/7 venue would require an extensive structural overhaul. “Which would mean less space for beds,’’ points out Brother Tom.

Originally, Good Shepherd, an undertaking of the St. John of God Brothers, ministered to men who were looking for housing and looking for jobs, often getting plucked for day labour. There’s not much of that anymore and their transience, the attendant inertia, has become deep-rooted.

“They can’t come and stay here forever though,” Brother Tom explains.

Fourteen consecutive nights is what’s allowed, before they’re “encouraged’’ to move on. At which point they’re shifted to the bottom of the priority list, with a minimum of 60 days before qualifying for the beds herein again.

Still, Good Shepherd does its best: a hot meal provided at 2 p.m. for everyone who drops by, registration for the night starting at 5:30 p.m., a substantial snack offered at 7 p.m..

It was estimated that Americans, who worship at the church of the NFL, would bet around $6 billion on Super Bowl LIII.

Who won? Who cares.

Rosie DiManno is a columnist based in Toronto covering sports and current affairs. Follow her on Twitter: @rdimanno



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These US entities partnered with the Wuhan Institute of Virology — time for a criminal investigation?

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(Natural News) The Wuhan Institute of Virology from which the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) is believed to have “escaped” has a number of questionable partnerships that are worth looking into in light of the pandemic.

Most of them are universities, including the University of Alabama, the University of North Texas, and Harvard University. There is also the EcoHealth Alliance, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the National Wildlife Federation.

While the relationships between these entities and the Wuhan Institute of Virology may be completely innocent, there is no way to really say for sure without a proper investigation. And this is exactly what Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is calling for, as is the nation of Australia.

Pompeo and the folks down under, along with millions of Americans, would really like to know the true origins of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19). An increasing number of people simply are not buying the narrative that the novel virus originated in bat soup at a Chinese wet market, and this even includes mainstream media outlets like Fox News.

The only way to really determine what was going on at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and who else might have been involved. is to open the place up for an international investigation. But communist China is against this, of course, accusing Australia of “petty tricks” and collusion with the United States.

“Overnight, I saw comments from the Chinese Foreign Ministry talking about a course of activity with respect to Australia who had the temerity to ask for investigation,” Pompeo is quoted as saying in response to China’s aggression against a proposed investigation.

“Who in the world wouldn’t want an investigation of how this happened to the world?” he added.

As the U.S. aims to get back on track economically speaking, Pompeo believes that now is the time to hold communist China, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and whoever else may have been involved accountable for unleashing this pandemic on the world.

“Not only American wealth, but the global economy’s devastation as a result of this virus,” Pompeo further stated. “There will be a time for this. We will get that timing right.”

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New U.S. analysis finds that lab in Wuhan, China was “most likely” origin of coronavirus release

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(Natural News) While American Leftists and most of the Democrat Party continue to serve as apologists for the Chinese Communist regime over its role in creating and then perpetuating the coronavirus pandemic, a new U.S. government analysis concludes that COVID-19 “most likely” escaped from a lab near Wuhan city.

The Washington Times reports that the analysis cataloged evidence linking the outbreak to the Wuhan lab and has found that other explanations for the origins of the virus are not as credible.

The paper reported:

The document, compiled from open sources and not a finished product, says there is no smoking gun to blame the virus on either the Wuhan Institute of Virology or the Wuhan branch of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, both located in the city where the first outbreaks were reported.

However, “there is circumstantial evidence to suggest such may be the case,” the paper says.

“All other possible places of the virus’ origin have been proven to be highly unlikely,” said the report, a copy of which was obtained by the Times.

ChiCom officials have claimed that the virus’ origin is unknown. However, Beijing initially stated that coronavirus came from animals at a “wet market” in Wuhan where exotic meats are butchered and sold in disgusting conditions.

Chinese officials claim that COVID-19 went from bats to animals sold in the market last year, then infected humans.

U.S. intelligence officials have increasingly dismissed that explanation, however, as attention has begun to focus on evidence suggesting that Chinese medical researchers were working with coronavirus in the country’s only Level 4 facility, which is in Wuhan.

U.S. Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said that intelligence agencies are investigating whether the virus escaped from a lab or was the result of a naturally occurring outbreak, but that analysts have ruled out reports that COVID-19 was manmade.

‘The most logical place to investigate the virus origin has been completely sealed off’

“At this point, it’s inconclusive, although the weight of evidence seems to indicate natural,” the general said on April 14, “but we don’t know for certain.”

The analysis said that the wet market explanation does not ring true because the first human diagnosis of coronavirus was made in someone who had no connection to the wet market in question. And according to Chinese reports, no bats were sold at that particular market.

At the same time, several questionable actions and a growing paper trail provide clues that the virus actually escaped from a lab, even as China begins to clamp down on those information streams.

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The biggest media lies about the coronavirus: Origins, treatments and vaccines

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(Natural News) If there is one thing that most everyone can agree on concerning the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it is the fact that there is no shortage of conflicting information out there about the nature of it. And the mainstream media is certainly doing its part to steer the narrative as part of a larger agenda, using plenty of misinformation along the way.

The following are among the most commonly parroted lies about the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) that aim to distort the facts and deceive you into believing falsehoods about this pandemic:

Media LIE: The virus is not man-made

From the very beginning of this thing, the official narrative was that the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) came from a Chinese wet market where bats and other “exotic” animals are sold as meat. But the world later learned that it actually more than likely “escaped” from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

The mainstream media and social media platforms went nuts trying to censor this information and even called it  “fake news.” But eventually it became undeniable that bat soup was not responsible for spreading the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) around Wuhan and eventually to the rest of the world – hence why we continue to call it the Wuhan coronavirus rather than just COVID-19.

We have even seen attempts by the media machine at making the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) a racial issue because there are supposedly more “people of color” coming down with it than people with fair skin, which further detracts attention away from the source of this virus.

Media LIE: Hydroxychloroquine is extremely dangerous and doesn’t work

The minute that President Donald Trump announced that hydroxychloroquine may be an effective, and very inexpensive, remedy for the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19), the mainstream media immediately began decrying this claim as fake news, even though Anthony Fauci himself praised hydroxychloroquine back in 2013 under Barack Obama as being some type of “miracle cure” for SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome).

There have even been studies conducted that were designed to intentionally smear the drug as both ineffective and dangerous, though one in particular purposely left out zinc, which appears to be a critical co-factor in supporting the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine – in other words, politics as usual.

Media LIE: Only a vaccine can save us from coronavirus

Many politicians and public health officials are parroting the lie that the only way America can come out of lockdown and go back to “normal” is to get vaccinated with some future vaccine for the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) that does not even yet exist. A vaccine, we are repeatedly told, is the only thing, or perhaps some new “blockbuster” antiviral drug, that can cure the world of this scourge and make everything happy and wonderful once again.

Meanwhile, not a peep is being made about things like intravenous (IV) high-dose vitamin C, which is being successfully used in other countries to stem the tide of infections without the need for new drugs and vaccines.

By omission, nutrition is pointless

Speaking of natural approaches to overcoming the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) that are being systematically ignored by the mainstream media and most in politics, have you heard anyone mention the importance of nutrition in all of this? We did not think so, and this is intentional.

Regular readers of this site over the years should know by now that the single-most important thing you need to do to stay healthy besides exercising regularly is to feed your body the nutrition it needs to naturally ward off illnesses, including those associated with the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19).

Research compiled by the Lewin Group reveals that nutritional remedies such as calcium, vitamin D, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zeaxanthin, and more all play a critical role in fortifying the immune system, which, if properly nourished, should have little problem fending off disease.

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