A gourmet meal?
A disabled person, without an electric scooter or wheelchair - using his arms to propel himself around.
Sharing a meal, not with family but with strangers.
Many people think that homelessness can ever happen to them, but think again.
From my work with street people in Toronto through the Salvation Army, I learned a great deal about this inhumane situation.
What are the causes of homelessness? There are many, many causes but here are just a few:
1. Loss of employment
2. Lack of affordable housing
3. Social assistant cheques which do not even cover basic needs.
4. Mental health issues
5. Catastrophic medical costs (OHIP does not cover everything)
6. Lack of employable skills
7. Ill health or sudden disability
Those are just a few which can affect ordinary people, just like you and me.
In my work with street people, I learned to see the person, not the situation which he or she found themselves in.
With the economic climate the way it is today, even in an affluent country such as Canada, people need assistance just to survive.
My hat goes off to a group of young people who each Sunday afternoon serve homemade soup and bread to the people who come to Gore Park. I have seen them go to the merchants in the Farmer's Market on a Saturday just before closing time and get donated vegetables which cannot be sold anymore but are still useable.
It warms my heart to know that there are young folk who see beyond themselves and see a need and fill it! They are making a difference!
Today, also was Mission Services Christmas meal for people in need. They served all ages and with a smile. Volunteers served up food from hot plates to waiting people. What this Agency did and its staff and volunteers sure did make a difference.
I can remember peeling potatoes in Toronto for a similar type of dinner - thought I would never come to an end of the potatoes but finally did! It was worth it, though, after when I saw hungry people being fed and kept warm on a cold winter's night.
Out of the Cold Programmes are also very good. Many churches run them both in Hamilton and in Toronto. In Hamilton, one synagogue also contributes to the food for this programme.
In the Mosques, help is given through benevolent gifts during Eid (one of the two festivals in Islam). I.S.S.R.A. (Islamic Social Services and Resources) and various mosques also have programmes to help the poor as well.
As in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and many other world religions, charity is considered part of the religion.
My hats off to all people who make a difference!