Shar­ing, learn­ing

The Glengarry News - - News -

“Ev­ery­body’s story mat­ters,” ob­serves Danyca Sch­nei­der. “We can learn from ev­ery­one, if we are open.”

She was re­flect­ing on the stint she and other mem­bers of the Alexan­dria-based Youth For Christ group spent as vol­un­teers help­ing the home­less in Mon­tréal.

There were many sto­ries to be heard by Danyca and the other vol­un­teers -- Lukas Auer, Su­san David, Joshua Fast, Abby Kosh­iol, Lis­cha MacCal­lum, Rowen McCormick, Mad­di­son McRae and Max Wood­ley. They spent three days “serv­ing and learn­ing along­side the marginal­ized,” re­lates group leader Vi­viane David. “I think we’ve be­come richer peo­ple by shar­ing with the ‘poor.’ Maybe they’ve shared the rich­ness of their lives with us.”

Work­ing in soup kitchens that feed 100 to 150 street peo­ple per day helped the group look be­yond the la­bels of­ten at­tached to those who “live on the edge” or have “fallen through the cracks.”

Danyca re­calls there were a few peo­ple who were un­ap­pre­cia­tive. “One guy didn’t like the way the Cheez Whiz was spread on his toast,”‘ she re­counts with a laugh.

But most were grate­ful to re­ceive as­sis­tance from strangers.

“They have big hearts,” adds Rowen McCormick. “They are kind; they are not what so­ci­ety thinks they are. They’re not mean; they’re peo­ple.” Mad­di­son McRae com­ments: “It was a re­ally great ex­pe­ri­ence. I’d do it again.“This was the sec­ond year the Youth For Christ mem­bers served at Logifem and L’Abre House shel­ters in the Griffin­town neigh­bour­hood.

Pay­ing $100 each, the lo­cal vol­un­teers slept on the floor of a church dur­ing their “in­spir­ing” and “eye-open­ing” visit.

There were many re­wards. “We’re so glad you’re back,” was the greet­ing the vol­un­teers re­ceived. “They re­mem­bered us a year later,” says Ms. David.

The home­less had “a lot of cool sto­ries” to re­count.

A busi­ness man had lost a for­tune; some­how a 70-year-old science teacher from Congo wound up pen­ni­less.

“Rich” is a sub­jec­tive term, ob­serves the group leader. “We live very dif­fer­ent lives com­pared to those who live only an hour from here,” notes Vi­viane David.

“There is a high per­cent­age of peo­ple who are barely sur­viv­ing. There are many peo­ple who do not know where their next meal is com­ing from. But they are not an­gry.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTOS

Top left: Rowen McCormick and Mad­di­son McRae at Logifem in Mon­treal where they helped serve lunch. Top right: Serv­ing at L’Abre House, Griffin­town Mon­treal were Lis­cha MacCal­lum and Joshua Fast. Above: Lukas Auer, Joshua Fast, Abby Kosh­iol, Danyca Sch­nei­der, Max Wood­ley.

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