‘People need people’: Edmonton man feeds those in need

Standing along Edmonton’s 118th Street wearing a t-shirt that reads ‘Not Today Satan’, Dale Desjarlais and a small but mighty team of volunteers hand out food and drink to people in the need.

He’s been doing this on and off for two years, mostly in the city center.

Every two weeks—the Saturday following payday—Desjarlais takes to the streets. He uses his own money and time to buy and make bannock and soup while distributing whatever other food people donate.

“When people are fed, I feel happy because I know what it’s like to be hungry or to have to go without food for two, three days,” he said.

Desjarlais had previously battled drug and alcohol addiction after experiencing physical and sexual abuse as a child.

Now he wants to use his healing experience to support other struggling people.

“People need people”

Some volunteers said there was not enough help for the growing number of people in need.

“I’ve been there and I’ll never forget where [help] comes,” said Cheryl Williams, who has been helping Desjarlais for a year.

“No matter what level of the ladder you are on, people need people, and we need to strive for that support and unity as a community.”

Desjarlais said his faith has helped him heal and he hopes sharing that, along with food, will help them.

“Where I come from 25 years ago, I had a lot of hate and anger, and I don’t want to go back there,” he said.

“When I see homeless people and how they’re coping, and people who are struggling, who don’t have God…I feel sorry for them.”

He said people are very grateful for the extra food.

“They say ‘thank you’ and ‘god bless you’ and ‘you’re doing a great job’. And…I say, ‘no, Jesus loves you guys. That’s not me. I’m just his hands and his feet.'”

Desjarlais said he plans to continue distributing food and inspired others to do so themselves in downtown Edmonton.

About Ernest Decker

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