ever considered my family to be poor, but we certainly weren’t rich. While we were a long stretch from ever being homeless,
ere constantly worried about finances. If we’ve never experienced poverty for ourselves, we may think about material posses-
stantly want the newest thing. Maybe that’s clothing with the latest fashion trends or the newest iPhone or other gadgets.
g in poverty struggle to put a meal on the table and a roof above their heads, we take what we have for granted. We want the
because we think everyone else has them. We think that having these things increases our status and acceptance.
a little girl, I had a doctor’s appointment at Children’s Hospital. A man was walking up and down the street, asking people
pare any change. I watched as people passed him by. Many didn’t even acknowledging his presence or his very existence. I
a heart for the marginalized and for the oppressed from a young age. I opened up my bright pink purse and handed him the
of change I had. It wasn’t much, but hopefully he would be able to buy himself something to eat.
oved to Winnipeg after graduating high school, I don’t think I really understood how big of issues poverty and homelessness
or the bus, a woman approached me and asked if I had any money. I only had a $20 bill on me. I passed it to her knowing that
more than I did. Her smile lit up her face. She was beaming ear to ear. She gave me a big hug, kissed my forehead, and said
years later that I would begin working in a ministry focused on responding to the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of
d families that are homeless or living in poverty. It’s a ministry through which God’s love, as known in Christ, is expressed in
al, and concrete ways. It has been an overwhelming experience that has provided endless opportunities for me to learn about
yself. I think that if we’ve never been on the margins ourselves, it can become safe to think of people who live in poverty or
eless as ‘the other.’ Oh no, not like me. Couldn’t happen to me. Even humanity gets lost… people with very diverse and com-
nd to get lumped together in the media and at the water cooler as ‘the homeless’ or ‘the mentally ill’ or ‘the addict.’ Everyone
e treated with respect and until you have heard someone’s story, you have no right to make those assumptions about anyone.
d so much about the hurdles of searching for housing, applying for social assistance or disability, and society’s negative beliefs
rs towards people who are living in poverty or are homeless. Society would be quick to discredit these people and even say
han perfect or maybe even less valuable. Some have made poor choices that led them to less than ideal circumstances. Some
om broken homes and abusive relationships. Some have struggled with addiction and self-harm. I believe that each person is
e and acceptance. Each person is valuable. It was at a time when I needed it most that God brought me to this ministry. It was
ce or mistake.
truggled with feeling that I wasn’t deserving of God’s love, I believed that the people that walked through the doors to access
were completely worthy of God’s love and acceptance. I didn’t see them as “less than” and I didn’t think God did either. I saw
for what they were – valuable!
ned from my work at this ministry is that some people need someone to listen to their story. Compassion and empathy are the
s of acceptance. Don’t pass people by when they are asking for your help. Stop. Pay attention to their needs. Help!
BY: CANDACE MAXYMOWICH
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