Second Year For Downtown Mission's Bench Talk

The head of the Downtown Mission is taking to a bench outside the mission's building at 875 Ouellette Ave. for this year's edition of 'Bench Talk'.

Beginning at 11am Thursday, Ron Dunn will camp out for 24-hours and is inviting members of the public to drop by with donations and to talk about issues ranging from hunger to homelessness.

Dunn told AM800's The Lynn Martin Show that the event will be entirely outdoors, despite the weather.

"They can spend ten minutes or they can spend the night, it's really up to them," he says. "There are no tents. I was adamant about not supporting a tent city so the tent that I had last year I've eliminated."

While some people may want to drop by and bring him a coffee, Dunn is asking for cash donations instead.

"If you were going to make a coffee run, $3.11 can buy one meal, one time for somebody in need here at the mission. We are serving about 900 meals a day now, so our numbers are greater than they've ever been and we're really looking forward to any financial support we can get," says Dunn.

Last year he received visits from Mayor Drew Dilkens, Windsor Police Chief Al Frederick, Windsor West MPP Lisa Gretzky and Windsor Regional Hospital CEO David Musyj.

Dunn says several of the candidates in the upcoming municipal election had said they plan to stop by during the 24-hour event.

"This isn't just a hot election issue, this has been an issue for a long long time in our city," he says. "Certainly I would say, it's as I've been saying, it's reached an epidemic proportion.  So come down, show your support get to know some of the folks there's going to be people with lived experience there."

 

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Windsor POlice Chief Al Frederick with Mission Executive Director Ron Dunn (by AM800's Peter Langille)