Molly Macnaughton knows what it's like to be left behind.
She's struggled with mental illness and addiction. Rents are rising, and every day she says she worries about whether she'll have a home tomorrow.
But she has a stable family, education and knowledge of how to navigate the system to get help, and she wants to assist people who don't.
"Just sitting with someone for 10 minutes makes a lot of difference," she told Information Morning Saint John. "And not judging."
Macnaughton started Crows Outreach in Saint John. She carries emergency overdose kits, which could be the difference between life and death for people who use opioids.
She also gives out warm clothes, food and basic necessities people have donated. And if she doesn't have anything to give people, she just tries to connect.
"You can say, 'Hello, how are you doing today?'" she said.
Saint John saw a significant increase of overdose calls in 2022.
The Saint John Police Force sent out a warning last year, saying it had seen a 30 per cent increase in overdose calls in the first four months of 2022, compared to the same months in 2021.
According to Health Canada, 32,632 people died of opioid toxicity in the last five years in this country, 242 of those were in New Brunswick.
Robert Bruce, Saint John' police chief, has struck a community action committee to address the rising number of overdoses and overdose deaths in the city. The committee includes people who work in the field of harm reduction as well as representatives from the province and law enforcement.
"I think dependency isn't a crime," Bruce said in an interview with CBC News in 2022. "If you [arrest] drug users, they're not getting the help they need."
'They are my friends and I want them to be warm'
On the days she hits the streets, Macnaughton starts by donning what she's dubbed her "harm reduction nerd" outfit: Insulated tights, high socks, and a shirt that either says "I carry harm reduction supplies" or "I'm carrying Narcan." An orange hat and turquoise backpack complete the look.
"I look the same every day so that people can recognize me," she said.
She then she goes to her "warehouse of donations," also known as her living room. She packs hats, mitts, snacks, toiletries and naloxone, and heads out to Crown and Prince Edward streets, walks down to the boardwalk and up Princess Street, ending her route at King's Square, where people can approach and chat if they want to.
"I just found helping people is my favourite thing to do, and really, by doing this I'm helping myself. It's a selfish deed in a way," Macnaughton said.
She said she doesn't feel unsafe walking alone because the people she's come to know also help her.
"They are my friends, and I want them to be warm and have full bellies."