A Moose Jaw couple is on a mission to change the lives of those less fortunate.
Nicholas Hennink and Sheena Nault are hitting the streets and getting to know the people who call it home. They’re sharing their time, listening to the stories and providing help whether it’s clothes or something to eat.
“Sheena has always been somebody that loves to feed the homeless. Ever since I met her, she’s always bought an extra meal. She’d open a window and say, ‘here you go’ and then drive away,” Hennink said.
“I always thought how beautiful it is that she does that. One day, we decided to actually go sit down and ask them what’s their story. So, we did that. We sat down with them, we listened to the stories and we were like, ‘this is amazing.’”
At the beginning of June, the two began documenting their journey on TikTok through a video series called “Help Someone.”
“We started the platform “Help Someone,” because we really wanted it to be a movement and to encourage people to give back. It doesn’t hurt to give back because everybody has a story,” Hennink said.
“Even if they don’t want to record it, we still talk to them, give them a coffee, some food. It’s been a blessing ever since.”
Many of the people they meet on the streets battle with some form of addiction, something all too familiar for Hennink.
A retired paramedic, he himself has battled with alcohol addiction and is on the road to recovery.
“I honestly believe that if I was not doing something positive and giving back and trying to be a better person every day, I would be back drinking again and I would be exactly where they are today,” Hennink said.
Nault said most of the people they speak to understand the consequences of drug use and are quick to advise people to stay away from the hard stuff.
“They know it’s something they shouldn’t do or need help with, but can’t get off of. It is very eye-opening. They are blatantly honest, like, ‘Yes, I have an addiction. This is what wrecked my life,’” Nault said.
The couple recently sold their homes and have devoted time to living in their RV. They say it’s an opportunity to enjoy another side of life — a simple, but rewarding side.
It’s been about two weeks now, and Hennink and Nault say they are loving it. On top of their video series, the two are in the midst of another initiative where they provide a good deed every day for 365 days straight.
Their goal is to travel from city to city, lending a hand to those who need it the most.
“In Saskatoon, we want to do a big barbecue out there on the streets, free for the homeless, where people can make a donation to a rehab or something like that,” Hennink said.
“We want to set up booths where there are mental health resources and other things so anybody that’s on the street has one place to go.”
To expand their reach and be able to provide more, Hennink and Nault set up a GoFundMe page which is already reached more than $83,000 in less than two weeks.
“We’re doing food drives. We’re doing an event here (Moose Jaw) and busy planning for Saskatoon,” Hennink said. “We’re working with other agencies, we’re helping people on the streets and we are buying clothing. We’re even trying to organize dental work for a few of them.”
Though everything is still quite new, the two are committed to reaching as many people as possible and would love to see this concept spread worldwide.
“We also had to get a team of lawyers. We hired a manager for it and we also had to hire an accountant because now we’re at a point where it’s not just a $1,000 sitting there,” Nault said. “We’ve got a duty to everybody that’s donated to make sure that it’s going to where we said it was going to go.”
Hennink and Nault are also the founders of We Are Warriors magazine, aimed at providing support to those with addictions and focused on the path to recovery. Hennink, who is also a mental health advocate for those dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), was named Canada’s 2020 Paramedic of the Year by the Paramedic Association of Canada.
Defined on the Paramedic Association of Canada’s website, the award “recognizes an active, frontline paramedic who has made a recent, considerable contribution to the paramedic profession.”
Hennink is also a recording artist.