Story, photos and video by Manjula Selvarajah
Clarence Keesman weaves through the tables, assisting with a request here and there. The needs are many.
He is the executive director of The Refuge, a downtown Oshawa based charity serving homeless and street youth in the Durham Region.
The centre’s statistics show that 92 per cent of the youth they see have been abused and that 72 per cent left their homes on their caregiver’s request.
Last year, The Refuge faced a drop in donations that may have shut its doors, but a rallying cry from community leaders sparked a last-minute infusion of financial support from the community.
The centre continues to rely on the generosity of the community and is always in need of funds, material donations and volunteers. To give, volunteer or find out more details, please visit their website.
Below is a photo essay of usual life at The Refuge. The volunteers are busy in the kitchen preparing hot meals, and young men and women are streaming down the stairs for a warm cup of coffee and a feeling of community.