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Local group helps those in need, one hot dog at a time

The hot dog people collect donations to provide food and supplies for Kitchener residents
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For the past five years, one local group has been meeting in Downtown Kitchener to distribute food and supplies to low income residents.

This self-supporting group once had no name as it is not backed up by an official sponsor, but the residents who use their services on Tuesday nights have come up with a title for them-- The hot dog people.
 
"So downtown the people just call us the 'hot dog people' because we hand out hot dogs downtown," says Katharina Richter, the organizer of The hot dog people.

"And that suits us just fine."

Richter says that the group started in September 2014 after taking over the supplies of a different street ministry. 
 
Besides hot dogs, Richter says they also hand out hot chocolate, toiletries, socks and winter hats and gloves when it's cold outside.

When asked about her reasons for being involved with the hot dog people, Richter says she has always been interested in helping others.

"I'm doing it because I want to share God's love with other people, but we're not very evangelistic." says Richter, "We're just more practical in meeting." 

Richter says in the beginning she bought many of the supplies they hand out to residents, but over time people began to donate.

"After that, supplies just start coming." says Richter, "We got random donations and different supplies from different connections."

One supplier, who helps to prepare the hot dogs and hot chocolate, is a restaurant in Waterloo called Proof Kitchen and Lounge.

"I don't know what they do to make them taste so good." says Richter.

"They prepare them, and it's a huge help and blessing to us."

For volunteers, every person has a different story on why they got involved with The hot dog people.

"Some are personal friends, one guy has come because he met a friend at a bar who invited him," says Richter, "another couple (found us) through a random Facebook meet up one guy did."

And new volunteers are encouraged to join, as Richter says they are hoping to start providing their services every Tuesday instead of only biweekly. 

"That's sort of a dream of ours." says Richter, "Hasn't come about yet, but if there were committed people, and that would be something."




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Ariel Deutschmann

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