Packets of hand warmers, foot warmers, facial tissues, razors, deodorant, and a comb – they may not seem like Christmas gifts but a Langley senior is hoping they can make life a bit easier for local street people and seniors.
Ron Bergen is assembling care packages. His goal is to distribute about 100 this holiday season.
He’s lived in Langley for five years. Bergen used to work the PNE in technical services and maintenance but is now legally blind, although he has partial vision. He’s on disability but stays active.
“I always say my abilities are far greater than my disabilities,” he said.
Bergen, 62, will lend a hand when he can even though he can no longer drive. A motorized scooter helps him cover longer distances.
He volunteers at the Langley Senior Resource Society centre, and spent six years with the Access Transit User Advisory Committee, hoping to take on another term. He enjoys helping out at the food hub at the Acts of Kindness Ministry.
“I try very hard to be open to the big picture for everyone. It’s about barrier free, you know,” the 62-year-old said.
That’s a benefit to all of society, not just those with differing abilities.
“If we make it things accessible for the young and old, the able to the not-so-abled, we would have a lot better world,” he said.
He decided to take on the care package project, because he knows so many more people are struggling financially in these uncertain times.
It started with a friend who has a car. They decided to hand out food and water downtown.
“So we’ve done that a few times. We did it on Thanksgiving,” he said.
Then he had the idea to assemble packages of sundries.
He knows what it’s like to be written off by society and wanted to do something that reached out to two groups that can often be overlooked by others – seniors and the unhoused.
For the care packages, he scours stores for the most economical supplies. As he’s told people about the project, they’ve pitched in with items,and some stores have come through with discounts and contributions.
He assembles a few packages at a time to hand out as he’s out and about. Bergen will provide some of the packages for groups, such as the seniors centre and churches, where people have helped him with supplies so the bundles can be distributed through them.
He’s also been meeting with people who work with the unhoused to ensure the care packages contain items they need and can use. While he would like to toss in some holiday goodies, the budget just isn’t there to allow it.
If anyone wants to contribute to his care package campaign, contact Bergen via email at RonCares59@gmail.com.