I have ministered in the GTA for over 16 years and both churches we have served have partnered with Church in the City and their Community Dinners. The way it works is that we are paired with a church in our case the Family Worship Centre in Courtice and together we go downtown every second month. One month we bring the main meal and Courtice provides dessert and the next time around we reverse roles.
This past Saturday we were really looking forward to being downtown again because the Community Dinners had moved to a better location at the Christian Resource Centre. Finding a facility for a Community Dinner is difficult in downtown Toronto and while thankful for their last location this new location is certainly better. Here are some before and after pictures.
As I was serving there was a man sitting in the corner by himself who asked if he could have another meal. It was early in the evening so I told him he would have to wait until about 6:30 for seconds. He was quite agreeable and I sat down and we started to talk. Here is a snapshot of his life.
- Allan and his wife worked at GM in Oshawa which is very close to our town of Brooklin
- His wife and daughter was killed by a drunk driver
- He got high for 3 months and when he came down he had lost everything
- He has been on the street for 16 years, living outdoors in a makeshift camp
- He still does drugs occasionally but never in pubic
- He picks up bottles for extra cash
- 80% of his food comes out of dumpsters
- He is taunted for being homeless
- The only time he feels respected is when he goes to the bank to be served
When you feel like writing a homeless person off remember the person you pass could be the next Ted Williams.
I thanked our congregation on Sunday for helping by giving, cooking and helping us serve downtown. We were able to provide Allan with a nice meal and another to take home. There will always be debates as to how to help the homeless. Like most people at times I have given money directly to people on the street. I have also brought people into restaurants and bought them food and I have given to organizations that help the homeless. No matter how to decide to be a blessing, one thing we can always give the person on the street is respect.
“Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” (James 1:27)