Ticats' Van Zeyl readies for a cold night for charity

Chris Van Zeyl described it as a brief moment of beauty after a very challenging night.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.cfl.ca/2022/02/24/ticats-van-zeyl-readies-cold-night-charity/

I had the pleasure of working two years in a homeless shelter and for three winters before that I did weekend overnight shifts at a winter mat program. Some nights the job goes super smooth and others it is a real challenge, but it is always rewarding.

Many of the homeless have addiction problems but many do not. Some are simply between jobs and are victims of very high occupancy rates for rentals (in Vancouver). Many struggle with mental illness. It would probably shock most of you to know how many people are homeless simply due to their mental illness keeping them from functioning in society. There is a fair amount of PTSD. There are women fleeing abuse, even a couple of cases where the abusive partner kicks her out of the house as a punishment and then after a few days lets her come back home. A couple of guys that we had were totally gambling addicted (they thought that we didn't know but we could tell), it's very sad to see. Sometimes there are people who simply had terrible neglectful and abusive upbringings and were never taught life skills, which leads to ... mental illness and addiction. There are lots of elderly caught in a housing squeeze that pension can't afford. Literally that is why they're homeless, pension simply does not cover rent in a city like Vancouver or Toronto. Now and then there is a refugee or two.

Our best success story at our shelter was a refugee from war torn Cameroon. As refugees are not entitled to legally work in Canada until their case is approved, he had to wait about three months before they granted him a SIN card. Then I helped him get a temp job, which he parlayed into a better job. In Cameroon he was educated in medical sciences but his credentials aren't recognized here, so he worked in a warehouse for not much more than minimum wage. After a few months he was able to rent a room in a house with some other guys. His goal was to be able to bring his wife and children to be with him in Canada. We were able to give him a warm bed and hot meals for the fall and winter and it was totally worth it.

Every story is different, but every one of these people is in our own back yard and could use a hand.


Good for you guys. The world needs more acts of selflessness... especially now. Mankind has been getting me down of late.

How much did Van Zeyl's effort raise for charity? Anyone know?

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Well according to this article from last year when he first did it he raised over his target goal of $5,000 and the article states that by morning he was at $6,400 with money still coming in . :+1:


Looking forward in a few years to see this Canadian guy in the CFL Hall Of Fame, for more reasons than one. Gotta love guys who give back.

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