Tell me about living in poverty, Barry. What is your biggest struggle?
“It’s difficult trying to make ends meet; to have enough money for clothing and food to survive. I got this shirt and these pants and my shoes here at the shelter. That left me with some money for groceries. I skip breakfast every day. I can’t afford it.”
“When I was 16, I had heart surgery. Replaced a couple of heart valves. The doctors gave me 15 years to live. Recovery took two years. I returned to school- paid for by the government by “disability”- and graduated in business administration. After working as a hardware store manager for a year, I turned to carpentry. I even built my own home. This was in New Brunswick.”
“My girlfriend and I had a baby. She left me soon afterwards.“He worked too much”, she said. She left the baby next door to me, 50’ away, at her great-grandmother’s place. I kept in touch with him all the time.”
“When my second wife and I had a baby, she left the baby at 6 months of age. This time, I kept him. Later on, my son and I moved here together to Windsor. We had nothing at that time. We ate at the Downtown Mission.”
“I started a security job at age 40. And worked that job for 15 years until I suffered a massive heart attack. I was flown from Windsor to London. It was six months before I could return home. Meanwhile, the doctor took away my security license. I could no longer work my job.Things have been tough since then.”
“I think people who live in poverty should get together, go to their member of parliament and voice their opinions. We need to let the government know there are people in need, financially but especially, morally.”
“Yes, morally. I had something tragic happen to my twin when I was 21 years old. He was singing Christmas carols. It was December 22. He was killed by a car that went off the road. (Crying) I needed to take a year off work to deal with that. I still struggle with it.”