I had to take Ontario Disability when I found out I was legally blind and lost my driver’s license. I wanted to work, but nobody wanted to hire me. I was getting pretty frustrated. I found out about the Fellowship Centre and Food Bank at St. Paul’s, when a Western student at my school told me about it. I knew I could get lunch there, so I started going. Soon I was meeting people at lunch and feeling better. One day I found out they needed volunteers to help after meals and I wanted to do something and keep busy. I spoke to the lady in charge and she said they would like me to volunteer! Three years later and I still go every Wednesday to help. Some days, my eyes are really foggy and I can’t see across the street and I can’t come – but not too often. I am legally blind, so I dictated my story to Barb at St. Paul’s.
I grew up in London in a little house not far from the old steel plant on Adelaide Street. My family didn’t have much, but it was a good neighbourhood for kids - lots of friends and not far from the river. I went to Aberdeen School, but my teachers told my Aunt and Uncle I was not keeping up with the other kids. I guess I had Learning Disabilities and maybe ADHD - it was hard for me to pay attention and I used to get pretty frustrated.
By the time they got me through to high school, I met a teacher in my Special Ed class. Her husband was Mr. Lerner. That teacher tried her best, but I could tell I wasn’t going to get my diploma. It was just too hard. So I dropped out and started looking for full-time work. Trouble was, with no diploma, no training or anything, I could only find work roofing, window-washing or on demolition jobs.
I worked with some tough guys - I got along, though. I had been brought up right and I always made jokes and smiled. I’m not a big guy, but I’m small and wiry, and I worked hard. Labouring is heavy work in heat and rain and cold. After a lot of years, my body kind of broke down, I had to stop working. That was really hard.
Helping out in the Fellowship Centre made me feel good about myself and I wanted to finish my high school and get a diploma. So I started working on my high school credits. School is different for me now than it used to be and the other people who volunteer at the Fellowship Centre keep me going and give me a lot of support.
Hard times happen to people and a lot of people don’t have enough to make it through the month. People get help at St. Paul’s. St. Paul’s would use the money for the Food Bank and Lunch program.
Learn more about St. Paul's Social Services Food Bank & Fellowship Centre