Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Food Supply Increase

We are still reeling from the food we received last week. It was amazing. Our families were thrilled to receive an extra box last week.

This week I received a call from a friend asking if we could use frozen airplane meals on an ongoing basis. He put me in touch with a gentleman, that works for Delta Daily Foods. If things progress as we plan, we will be able to get pallets of food on a fairly regular basis. This is an amazing connection for us, and great news. We are blessed.



Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Frozen Meals Arrive

I received a call yesterday from a friend telling me that a guy he knew had 5 or 6 pallets of frozen meals to give away. I jumped on the offer and called the generous individual right away. At 6:30 this morning we picked up 6 pallets of frozen meals from a loading dock in St. Laurent. Our problem was, we only have 5 available freezers. We called up Westview Bible Church and filled a freezer there as well. We still had 4 pallets of food!

We decided to take a box, containing anywhere from 30-50 meals each to our food bank recipients. Can you imagine the look on there faces when they receive a whole box of these meals. It puts a smile on my face.

We still had 2 pallets! I called up a friend at the Old Brewery Mission to see if they could use the rest. An hour later their truck pulled up and took the last two pallets. It is amazing how this one guy making a phone call set off a chain of events that will feed hundreds of people, and it was all done before lunch. What a great day.



Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Denise Update

Last week, I started to tell you about Denise. Well, things got worse. Her apartment building caught fire at 4 am one morning. Everyone was evacuated to a motel for 3 days. As bad as this was, Denise loved it. She got to sleep in a clean room and bed for the first time in years. She had food and was able to buy some new clothes. She felt relaxed.

As of this week the first floor tenants will be allowed back in the building. This includes Denise. The Rental board has issued her hearing date so we are going to have top negotiate how we empty her apartment. This will not be easy. Denise is very attached to her stuff. We have to help her realize that if she doesn't get rid of the stuff, she will have nowhere to live, and therefore nowhere to keep her stuff, so she will lose it anyway.

The battle in her mind continues....



Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Traps of Mental Illness

Denise is in her early 50's. She is a cheerful lady, who at one time had the world in her hands. She lived with her husband and child in a beautiful upscale home in the West Island. She had a nice car, lots of friends and was busy about her church community. Then, sickness struck. Her husband left her for the baby sitter while she was in hospital. Denise went into a spiral of depression that became OCD somewhere along the way.

Today, she finds herself living by herself in a one bedroom apartment in a poorer neighborhood in the West Island, depending on our food bank to get by. In losing everything, she has become fearful of having nothing, so she hoards. It came to a head in the last months because her radiator in her apartment blew and nobody could get to it, because it was covered in junk. I say covered, knowing that I could never adequately explain what her apartment has become. Denise collects everything, and she has been doing this since 2002. Her apartment is full of junk. 6 feet high. Not piles, the whole thing. She has to crawl and climb to get anywhere, not that there is anywhere to go. Her kitchen is only recognizable because you can see one top corner of her fridge. Her bathroom is unusable.

Denise called me last week, desperate for help. Once her landlord saw what was going on he moved to have her evicted, and rightly so. This is a major fire hazard. The Rental Board has demanded that she get rid of everything or lose her apartment. So, I recruited 6 friends a trailer and a pick-up truck to go clean house.

5 hours , two trailer and pick-up loads later, Denise now has a small path where she can get from one end of her apartment to the other. Her bathroom is usable, but we have only scratched the surface. Her bedroom and kitchen are still buried. Unfortunately Denise will still be evicted, if she can't allow us to remove the rest.

Denise knows in one part of her mind how crazy this is, but, at the same time can't let go. All of her friends, except for one older couple, have abandoned her. So she has very little rational feedback on a regular basis. As we are loading stuff into the trailer, I see the pain in her eyes, like we are ripping out a piece of her. She know it is for the best and she must go through this, but it hurts.

I am not sure how this will end up, but we are committed to being there for Denise. She is a great lady with artistic ability and a desire to help people. There is much good in her. The question is will she ever be able to find it and let go of her fear of rejection and loss.