The invisible needy: why it is so important to give back and why I do

Because we’ve started to hit hard economic times and Vancouver’s recent cold snap, now more than ever we need to been as generous as we can.

When I walk through the DTES it’s easy to see people in need. It’s easy to understand the need for food banks and hampers, but what about the not so easy to see? What about people who you can’t see? What about people you think are okay and aren’t?

What about people like me?

Yes, me.

No, not this year. Last year.

Last year was a very, very bad year for me financially. The worst of the problem wasn’t through fault of my own, but it happened.

This time last year I had been to the food bank twice to get food for my kids. Yes, that means like many parents, I made sure they were fed and I went without.

My Christmas food and the majority of presents my kids got from me came from the Salvation Army. Cash gifts that family gave me went to food, shelter, then bills.

Last year I saw and felt what it is like to go hungry. The commercials on TV with the person having to choose between eating and rent or electricity made me cry.

Cry in frustration. Cry in shame. Cry wishing it were different.

Some dear, dear friends helped me a lot. More than I wanted, but exactly what I needed.

This is why I give to the food bank, and give generously. I give because I know for every person you can see who needs help there are far more you can’t. I give because I would sit in secret shame counting change to buy a coffee out with friends and think, well I don’t need to have milk at home yet.

So today in Vancouver we’re meeting this afternoon to donate warm clothes. I’ll make sure I’m there. I don’t have much to give, because I donated a lot of clothes and such when I moved here.

When you have a chance to give, do.

I will close this post with a thank you. Thank you to all who helped me so much last year. Thank you to all my friends in Vancouver when I see you give so, so generously at events that support the food bank. It makes me smile. It makes me proud.

And now you know why.

And now you know why I give.

Comments

  1. says

    Amazing post, thanks so much for writing about your experience. After #hohoto a buncha geeky gals assembled to do a fundraiser for the ywca's affordable housing project in downtown TO. Hopefully '09's overarching narrative of financial bailouts/economic meltdowns doesn't drown out the real needs of individuals who need help most. You did a great service encouraging ppl to not make donations/volunteering a 'Christmastime' thing.

  2. says

    Amazing post, thanks so much for writing about your experience. After #hohoto a buncha geeky gals assembled to do a fundraiser for the ywca's affordable housing project in downtown TO. Hopefully '09's overarching narrative of financial bailouts/economic meltdowns doesn't drown out the real needs of individuals who need help most. You did a great service encouraging ppl to not make donations/volunteering a 'Christmastime' thing.

  3. Dee says

    Tris, it warms my heart to see this post and know that you are always there to help anyone in need…you always have been and I know that you always will be. And for us that remember what you went through last year, I know it has changed our lives for the better too. It definitely made me more aware of the real people in need. Thank you. Hugz Tris and wishing you the best in the year 2009.

  4. Dee says

    Tris, it warms my heart to see this post and know that you are always there to help anyone in need…you always have been and I know that you always will be. And for us that remember what you went through last year, I know it has changed our lives for the better too. It definitely made me more aware of the real people in need. Thank you. Hugz Tris and wishing you the best in the year 2009.

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