In 2009, Michelle started coming to the shelter with her boyfriend. The boyfriend’s now an “ex” but the shelter’s remained a constant in Michelle’s life. She’s a familiar face to all as she helps sort donations and serve food.
Michelle’s shoes were given to her by the shelter.
What is your biggest struggle with poverty on a daily basis?
“I’m doing okay myself. I can make ends meet.”
“But, for the others, I’d say their biggest struggle is shelter. Many are homeless. They stay at the river or on a park bench. They may not have been told of this place. Or else, they have a fear of not being welcomed here, for some reason.”
“There needs to be more in the media about helping the homeless. People need to know they can get food and clothing here. They can take a shower. I know many folks who’ve been homeless for over six months. And, this is in the winter months!”
What would you like people to know about living in poverty?
“Tell them there’s help out there. There’s some form of housing for everyone. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind. Speak up about your situation. People shouldn’t be living in cars, on benches, in parks or at the river.”
“Christine (the shelter administrator) does her best for the homeless. The Prime Minister and government need to step it up more. Ford and GM get help. But, what about helping people like us?”
“Volunteering at the shelter, well, I’ve seen people turn their lives around. It can be done. In the meantime, take one day at a time. And, walk with your head held high!”