What If You Had Nothing For Christmas?
What if all winter you would have to decide...rent or food?
This year I am making a huge appeal to my Toronto, and York Region area friends.
Our family has been helping a family that has been homeless for the past 4 months. Sometimes they seek shelter here, most times they slept in their car and would come here to shower and do laundry and cook some food they got from the food bank.
A tragic turn of events found a family of 4: Two parents and two, twenty-something kids without a home. Their rental was basically condemned the day they moved in and the landlord put them up in a hotel promising the house would be fixed, and when their first and last ran out he said, "Upps sorry."
In the mean time because they had no permanent residence their jobs let them go. The son who is a carpentry contractor had to stop working so the family could live in his pickup truck.. ( 4 adults, a dog and a cat).
This is a hard working, Never been on unemployment or welfare ever, family. People who always had one full-time and and one part-time job each to make by. Homeless in York Region with no aid in site. Welfare offered them food money. A pittance less than 'Bob Cratchet' had.....
This family lived in their car in the grocery store parking lot until three weeks ago when it got so cold they had to go to a shelter. Why didn't they go sooner? The shelter would not take them with pets. The shelter had limited room for families. York Region Housing lost them in the system. York Region Police were looking out for them and protecting them at night, and were trying to find them aid. Finally the Police told them to sit on Welfare's doorstep night and day till they helped. Welfare and housing called the Police on them and the Police came and told welfare the family was doing as the Police had instructed. It has been the most horrible ordeal I have ever witnessed in my life.
An Animal shelter gave temporary refuge to the dog and cat so the family could be warm at night in the shelter. The family found a home. I got a call last Sunday from a lady who purchased a newly built property in Brandford on spec. with the intent to have it as a rental income property. She said she was willing to give them a break because she had to live in her own car in the past.
We tried to get the Newspapers and the News channels to help.... We tried all the politicians of the area, and even their own home parish Anglican church would not aid this family. These are people that have clean abstracts and are bondable. No drug or alcohol habits. And are hard working and willing to do ANY job- type laborers.
The two adult children stayed by their parent's side. They could have each left their parents and probably bedded down with a friend here and there and made it on their own. But they are so dedicated to their parents and so worried for them, they would never leave their side. If only some of us had such dedicated kids of our own........
I have known this family for 20 yrs.
Our family did all we could within our own limitations, as I just had my third cancer surgery this year, and I am not so well myself.
Now we are asking for everyone's help.
This family got a house. But they cannot afford to pay their storage fee so they cannot get their furniture or belongings until they can afford to pay the storage, and that won't be for quite a long time. Welfare can pay the rent and eek by the utilities, but they won't be able to buy food. It will be rent, or food, not both.
I am appealing for help for me to help them. I will drag my ass out of my sick bed with the help of my own family to pick up donations.
The family is sleeping on the floor of an empty house, with nothing. Absolutely nothing.
I made a facebook appeal and got some stuff from folks today and Carl and I delivered it, and we will continue to deliver it throughout the weekend.
These folks need jobs too. They are all experienced:
house and business cleaning
general contracting and carpentry
grocery clerk and grocery labor
taxi drivers or dispatch
My first appeal got some household items and furniture, and I am still in need for these items:
ivory laundry soap
ivory body soap or dove body soap
pots and pans
large tea pot
beds and mattresses: three queen size would be best as they are tall
coffee table and end tables
night stands for three bedrooms
one overhead dining room fixture or kitchen fixture to put over the kitchen table
a computer monitor
sharp knife set
pots and pans
iron and ironing board
queen and double bed sheets
The food banks here are almost empty so the pickins is slim for them.
I know they need grocery cards for No Frills so they can make sure their money pays the rent and utilities(water and gas). The new townhouse comes with free cable, internet and telephone for a year as part of the builder deal, and it came with all the appliances.
We need a pair of men's steel toe work boots in decent conditon, size 10 1/2.
We need dog and cat kibble and cat litter.
I would really like to get them some prepaid gas cards. I would really like to get them lots and lots of pre-paid No Frills Cards.
These folks are not even thinking about Christmas presents. But I know if some of you have no cast-off furniture your wallet might be able to open with cash, or you would be willing to make a Christmas stocking for an adult?:
They could use a stocking each with personal toiletries
Two women and Two men:
The stuff they could use: bars of ivory or dove soap, shaving cream, feminine hygiene products, razors, deodorant (probably as neutral scented as possible), toothpaste, chapstick, hand cream.
I took $50.00 of my Christmas money and went to No Frills and I said if I buy them $50.00 worth of meat, potatoes and rice and pasta, would they match my spending with a gift card for No Frills. I am willing to do that again and again if anyone wants to donate cash. I am willing to do that with the gas stations and Walmart, over and over again for every dollar of cash a person wishes to donate. I will ask everyone I can think of who is a retailer to match the donations with gift cards for them. My goal is to have them not go hungry this winter while they try to make rent, until they get work, and can stand on their feet again.
No one in their family would help them. Their parents have all died recently. They looked after one set of parents for the twenty years I have known them.
I know some of you have been in their shoes, and remember how great it was to get a hand-up. Please pay it forward if you can. Check your closets, your basement, your garage. Come on I bet you know in some form of laziness you haven't gotten rid of stuff you don't need anymore....
When you go to No Frills can you add the cost of a pre-paid grocery card to your order and do without the extra holiday sweets? Do your kids really need the 20th present you are dreading wrapping, or could that money buy some toiletries for an adult who will get no Christmas presents this year?
Did your own dog or cat have to go on "Special" diet food this year and you still have part bags of kibble in your pantry that your pet can't eat? Can you pass it on to this family for their pets? Did your own pet just pass away? Do you have extra food you don't know what to do with?
Are you wealthy enough to give someone cash to buy food? Are you willing to buy car gas pre paid cards so someone can get to a job or hunt for a job?
Carl and I don't have much money. My illness takes tons of money to manage, but we decided Christmas cards and stamps were not as important as food for a friend, and found $50.00 we could spare, and we turned that into a double investment by approaching a grocer. We are willing to do it! Can you?
Do you own a business in York Region and are able to employ someone? Consider this family.
Can you give up a night at the bar to ensure a family has food on their table?
Can you give up those three movies you might rent this weekend and buy a food or gas card?
We cannot help the world, but we may be able to help one family survive through 2011.
If you can help you can contact me at motivatedmotion (at) sympatico (dot) ca
Do you know a big business person or a news media person you could show this blog post to? Please tell everyone you can. Shout as loud as you can. PLEASE
(If you see responses on here or Facebook and think: "Oh they are getting help, I don't have to bother." Please think again. I also know of another family in need I can send the overflow to... People I know who are local.... If we get enough food cards to help this family for several months I will pass on the overflow cards to another family in need. No Frills is all over the area, so we won't waste the extras!)
Thursday, December 09, 2010
What If You Had Nothing For Christmas?