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Warm Hearts Save Homeless Man from Record Cold in Banff

Edwin Kraft, a 66-year-old homeless man in Banff, was facing minus-40-degree temperatures until the residents rallied to get him a safe and warm shelter

Alberta recently grappled with an intense polar vortex that plunged temperatures to record lows and those without homes were most at risk.

Across Alberta, people worked hard to keep these at-risk people safe and warm.

In Banff, where you mostly hear about epic scenery and gnarly ski slopes, homelessness mostly goes under the radar.

But the good people of Banff helped out one man without a home during the severe cold spell.

Edwin Kraft, a 66-year-old homeless man who had been sleeping in a carport behind a local business in Banff, was set to suffer the biting cold, with the only insulation being the cardboard he laid on.

A Guardian Angel 

As frigid temperatures gripped Banff last week, a guardian angel appeared in the form of Meg Taylor, owner of Botega Salon & Gallery

Meg Taylor | Botega Salon and Gallery

Taylor had encountered Edwin months ago when he first arrived in Banff and was left to fend for himself in the busy tourist town.

In the spirit of kindness, she offered him a warm place in her vehicle one bitterly cold day, and their friendship began to blossom.

Over the months, Meg and Edwin’s paths continued to cross, leading to conversations and small acts of kindness. 

Meg would provide him with food, and Edwin, known for his reluctance to ask for help, never imposed. 

Little did Edwin know that this unexpected friendship would soon become a lifeline that could save his life during the plunging deep freeze.

As temperatures dipped to record lows, Meg couldn’t rest easy, thinking about Edwin’s safety and well-being.

She had tried tirelessly to find him shelter when the weather had turned cold in November, but there was no available space in shelters. 

But Taylor wasn’t willing to give up. She asked Edwin what his plans were for the cold spell, and when he admitted he hadn’t thought that far ahead, Meg sprung into action.

Overwhelming Community Response

Meg giving Edwin a haircut at her salon | Bodega Salon and Galley
Meg giving Edwin a haircut at her salon | Bodega Salon and Galley

With Edwin’s consent, Meg set up a GoFundMe campaign with the initial goal of raising $1,000 to provide him with four to five nights in a warm hotel. 

What happened next was nothing short of miraculous. The community of Banff rallied behind Edwin, generously donating far more than expected. 

The campaign managed to raise over $7,300 in just six days. This outpouring of support allowed Edwin to have a roof over his head during the nasty cold and beyond.

The hotel where Edwin found refuge also offered discounted rates, highlighting the collective spirit of compassion that has taken root in Banff. 

Edwin is living at Bow View Lodge in Banff until January 17, but Meg hopes to extend his stay or find more permanent housing.

Meg humbly attributes the success of helping Edwin to the remarkable generosity of the community that stepped up when it mattered most.

The extreme cold warning issued by Environment Canada underscores the critical importance of shelter during these perilous times.

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