Volunteers Install Hand Washing Stations For Toronto’s Homeless

Over the course of the pandemic, health officials have advised the public to wash their hands as frequently as possible to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

But for people experiencing homelessness in Toronto, the ability to practice proper hygiene became nearly impossible when public washrooms, businesses, libraries and community centres closed at the height of the pandemic.

Local sales engineer, Joshua Kanakaratnam, recognized this problem around his community and decided to help. At the beginning of June, Kanakaratnam began purchasing hand-washing stations, typically used for camping, to place near encampments and organizations that provide services to those living on the street.

“It’s really about the community coming together to protect the city and making sure that everyone has access to washing their hands,” said Kanakaratnam in article by the Toronto Star. “We all benefit.”

Kanakaratnam started CleanHandsTO and has since raised over $3000 for this initiative with the support of the community. Over the past few months, they’ve installed seven stations at various locations across the city.

Each station provides up to 200 hand washes per day and are disinfected and refilled routinely by a group of volunteers.

“My goal is to just make sure people are able to stay safe and healthy, however that can happen, whether it’s in an encampment or through an outreach centre,” said Kanakaratnam.

Kanakaratnam and CleanHandsTO are working to install more hand washing stations and reach as many people as they can.

Photo Credit: The Toronto Star / thestar.com

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