By Shawn Bayes, Executive Director
During a three week period a few months ago, each morning as I came to work, I saw the same car either in the parking lot or the street in front of our office. It was loaded with belongings and I suspected a homeless woman was living in it because women with little money find the cost of car insurance relatively affordable when compared to safe housing. On several mornings, I saw her with her dog being given a cup of coffee by a resident of our halfway house. In my haste and confidence that EFry would help her, I carried on along my way.
However, as the car remained in our comforting shadow for weeks, I took the time to approach it and speak to the woman. I was surprised to see it was packed to the roof with toys, and the woman, her dog, and her small toddler were all residing in the front seat of the car. Troubled, I asked if we had been able to help her. Yes, she assured me, we had secured her an emergency grant for food, and were working to find her housing. She was “residing with us” in her car because we had hot water for showers, space in the women’s resource centre for herself and her child during the day, and hot coffee, sandwiches, fruit and cookies for extra sustenance. When her housing came through, the car was gone.
Recently, she stopped by again – this time, to make a donation. She brought some of the toys she thought seemed less used to be given to other children as a way of saying thank you for the help we gave her. I recognized her in the elevator and we spoke as she brought them to the fourth floor. She now lives nearby and feels her life is proceeding on track. Sometimes the help given can seem so small but we don’t know the difference it makes.
The legacy of care and participation in improving the lives of others is part of something larger than any of us know and it comes back in surprising ways. EFry is proud to have the support of its clients not only in meeting their needs but enabling them to feel they themselves have something to give back.