Chrissie found her shoes at the side of the road. Someone tossed them out as garbage.
What is your biggest struggle with poverty on a daily basis?
“Money. You need money for everything. Right now the problem is finding some winter clothing. I hardly have anything suitable for winter. My boyfriend got me a coat. I have boots but they’re too big. I’ve two sweaters but I find I get cold easier than most people I know.”
“We don’t have money for food at all. Most of the time, me and my boyfriend eat here at the shelter to save buying groceries. The money all goes to rent, hydro and gas.”
“Next week is my birthday. I’ll be turning 43. My boyfriend says he has plans. I don’t know what he can afford, if anything. He’s on a disability cheque.”
What would you like people to know about living in poverty?
“There are reasons why people have nothing. I’ve been trying to get my belongings back from my ex-husband for a while now. He has my clothing, my 4H plaques from my youth, and my medals from track and field and from school. Those things are all important to me. But, the Legal Aid lawyer is across town. As are the courts. I have no money for bus fare- it’s went up to $3 one-way- and a bus pass costs too much. The lawyer drew up all the paper work and I told my ex he can’t keep my stuff. But, he wouldn’t sign the papers. He’s trying to keep all my things.”
“I have family and friends here but they’re tight too. No extra money to help me out. My foster Mom lives in Wawa, near Sault Ste. Marie. She’s hard to get ahold of lately. My parents died when I was young. I lived in foster homes from age 9. It was hard getting switched to different families and I didn’t do well with constantly switching schools. Always having to make new friends.”
“Last year on Boxing Day, things came to a head with my ex. We were married 20 years at that time. He kicked me with his cowboy boots. They have sharp heels on them. My back has never been the same. I ran away to my friend’s house. She helped me see that I couldn’t stay with him. My new boyfriend was a friend of hers’. That’s how we met up.”
“It’s not easy being poor. I’m sick right now. Sinus infection; both ears too. It’s hard to have money for medicine. But, I need antibiotics.”
“I think I can make it if my foster parents help me. If I can get ahold of them. And, this shelter helps me too. I don’t know what we would be eating otherwise.”