How lucky are we to be able to wake up in a warm and cozy bed? To have a choice what we have for breakfast. To open a fridge filled with fresh produce and delicious food. To cozy up on a couch and read a good book or watch a Netflix show. Many aren’t so lucky. We can’t begin to imagine what it must feel like to go outside and not have the luxury of coming home. Tonight, we were lucky to have experts in the field of ‘Homelessness’ to bring us inside to this devastating world.
Our first guest was Avrum Rosensweig, who is the Founder of Ve’ahavta and the host of Podcast ‘HatRadio’. Avrum spoke about his experience with homelessness and offered some of his tremendous wisdom. He started off by sharing a relatable story about empathy. It’s moral was that in order to truly understand, we must be able to empathize.
Seeing homeless people on these cold nights across our city parks, is unfortunately, not an unusual sight.And yet here we are, living in one of the greatest times in history, living in what Avrum calls the ‘Garden of Eden.’ We have everything we need and we never question where our next meal comes from. We are blessed and so, with that blessing comes obligation and responsibility. It’s our obligation and responsibility to help others who aren’t so fortunate. With this simple plea, Avrum also urged us to carry items in our cars, like new underwear, socks, sleeping bags; anything to help the homeless!
Renata Young has been working in the homeless sector as a counsellor and case manager for 20 years. She worked with single women for the first 4 years and now for the past 16 years has been working with single men at Seaton House, the largest homeless shelter for men in Canada. Tonight, Renata spoke about her love for her clients and shared the ‘Myths’ behind homelessness.1. Homelessness is not a choice – many factors related involved; mental illness, physical health, trauma.2. All homeless people use drugs and alcohol – many do not use any form of substances at all.3. They are lazy. They may not have a phone or ID,and with lack of education it is impossible to afford housing with a minimum wage job. They just don’t know how to get out of their situation.4. Homeless people take advantage of the system. Fact, through government assistance many only receive $656/month, while a typical one-bedroom apartment in Toronto costs $2000/ month.5. People who can’t take of themselves shouldn’t have pets. Their love for their pets is no different than any of us. 6. I will never become homeless; it can’t happen to me. Renata openly shared how for a brief period in her life, even she, ended up at a shelter.
We need to debunk these ‘Myths’, increase our empathy, and reduce discrimination. So, the next time you see a homeless man, remember that they are someone’s son, brother or father. They deserve our respect and deserve to be noticed.
Ethan Young, Renata’s son, then charmed us with his beautiful performance of the song, “You Say”, by Lauren Dangle. This multi-talented 16-year-old singer-songwriter was the winner of CTV’s hit TV show “The Launch” among many other accolades.
Tonight’s shining stars were Carly and Charley, the co founders of the ‘Odd Sox Project’. Through their dedication to this incredible project, they started to help the homeless and have been able to donate over 150,000 pairs of socks around the world! They spoke about how they started this initiative after witnessing homeless people and wanting to help. They discovered that socks were one of the most desired items to collect. So, the girls began asking for single ‘useless’ socks and pairing them. Within no time their initial passion, turned into a flourishing charitable mission, receiving donations world-wide. And,although they are not able to sort through socks right now during COVID, they plan to continue this initiative, for it will always be a part of their lives. In the meantime, they also sell their own designed socks through Carly and Charley’s Single Sox. With every pair sold, another pair gets donated. Check them out at https://www.carlyandcharleyssinglesox.com/contact-us/
We then heard from Kindness Corner and Lindsay @one2giveto. This week Lindsay posed a one-weekchallenge: to donate any amount of money to ‘Bargains Group’. This money will be pooled together to give to Ve’ahavta and Seaton House, providing them with funds to buy the items that they desperately need. Thank you to Lindsay and Jody at Bargains Group for helping to bring much needed comforts to so many. You can contact Bargains Group directly at www.bargainsgroup.com or calling 416-785-5655 If you are looking for another way to give you can also contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay warm! Be grateful for the comforts that you have and reach out to help those who are not so fortunate.