Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Coldest Night of the Year

On January 23, almost 4000 people in 38 cities people across the country will be walking in the Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser supporting charities that serve the hungry, homeless and hurting in communities across Canada.

Our local team in Kitchener/Waterloo walks to raise money for Ray of Hope, a Kitchener charity you've seen before on this blog.

This Saturday one of our local teams, Team Hope, will be at the Kitchener Market on the lower level taking $5 donations for the walk. With your $5 donation, you'll be donating a toque, hand lotion and enough cash to feed someone 2 meals for Ray of Hope.

Where else can you get value for a donation like that? 

Of course, if your heart directs you to give $20 or more, a charitable receipt will be issued to you, along with out heartfelt thanks and gratitude.

So Team Hope is eager to see you this Saturday February 9 on the lower level of the Kitchener Market to send a little love, a little food and a little warmth to Ray of Hope and the people they serve in our community. If you can't make it out, we certainly won't complain if you'd like to donate to the team online here... we'll even make sure we donate a hat and lotion on your behalf!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

On Being Poor

Stephanie is an amazing woman I've worked with closely this last year. She's a hard-working mother, often working over 50 hours a week between 2 jobs to keep her family afloat. I asked her to send me some her thoughts on what life is like as a member of the working poor and this is what she had to say: 

Being poor is hoping the toothache goes away.
Being poor is knowing your kid goes to friends’ houses but never has friends over to yours.
Being poor is thinking $8 an hour is a really good deal.
Being poor is relying on people who don’t give a damn about you.
Being poor is not taking the job because you can’t find someone you trust to watch your kids.
Being poor is the police busting into the apartment right next to yours.
Being poor is your kid’s teacher assuming you don’t have any books in your home.
Being poor is six dollars short on the utility bill and no way to close the gap.
Being poor is knowing you work as hard as anyone, anywhere.
Being poor is answering the interviewer's illegal question because if you say you don't have to answer that you know you'll never get the job.
Being poor is people surprised to discover you’re not actually stupid.
Being poor is people surprised to discover you’re not actually lazy.
Being poor is never buying anything someone else hasn’t bought first.
Being poor is picking the 10 cent ramen instead of the 12 cent ramen because that’s two extra packages for every dollar.
Being poor is getting tired of people wanting you to be grateful.
Being poor is knowing you’re being judged.
Being poor is a cough that doesn’t go away.
Being poor is knowing where the shelter is.
Being poor is people who have never been poor wondering why you choose to be so.
Being poor is knowing how hard it is to stop being poor.
Being poor is seeing how few options you have.
Being poor is running in place.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Remembering Kelsey

Last week I had a morning I wasn't expecting. I woke up in the morning, ready to start my day and quickly learned that the body of a murdered young woman had a name... and it was a name I knew. And loved.

Kelsey Felker was a beautiful girl, inside and out. I first met her through running the FoodLove clothing closet and over time, she became a donor as well as a recipient. I've watched her give food to others when she didn't have enough of her own, I've watched her shake as she tried to give up the drugs she was so dependant on and I've hugged her as she sobbed over a life she thought she'd never have a chance to see.

Tonight, our community has the chance to come together and pay respect to a young woman who would have found another route in life, who would have made a real impact on Waterloo Region...

if only she had the chance

Whether you knew her or not, I implore everyone in KW to join us at 9 pm tonight, Kitchener City Hall to make a stand, show support and send this young woman a farewell befitting her generous and compassionate soul.

Kelsey Felker Memorial
Monday February 4, 2013
Kitchener City Hall
9 pm

Friday, February 1, 2013

Not All Wedding Are Created Equal

My hubby and I got married in 2000. I was 19 and our wedding matched our youth. Cheap and quick. The two of us didn't care much what our wedding looked like as long as we were together and frankly, our families weren't too keen on helping us make it any better because we were too young, didn't know better, la dee da.

Sadly, some family members didn't even come to our wedding because they said, "I'd be surprised if it even lasts 6 months."

On that day, in my mind, it was perfect. We had a lovely ceremony with 30 of our closest friends and family in the chapel at Kitchener City Hall. The reception was held in the gorgeous backyard of my aunt and uncle's house, with a tent for the food, a pool for cooling down and just a wonderful family get together. My family came together to make the food, people brought presents and we just had fun.

Looking back at it, I think the only thing I hated about my wedding was the cake. That cake is probably the reason I later went into the cake making business, pricing my wares low enough that even the poor bride could afford a beautiful wedding cake. Mine was purchased by my stepfather's girlfriend, from Zehrs. Just a slab that said Congratulations and our names. I'd show you a pic but our wedding photos were lost long ago in a fire. To top it off, the crappy tasting slab cake was set upon a table decorated with a rooster tablecloth. Any photographs that did get taken showed that lovely rooster pattern in the back. It wasn't pretty.

I'm sure that roosters were harmed in the making of this tablecloth. Quick! Someone call PETA!

So why am I telling you my wedding story?

Because if this is the route that your wedding is going, there is a chance to change its direction!

Wedding Saviours has a local team in Kitchener Waterloo that wants to bring a dream wedding to a couple in need. Applications are open now and the dream wedding will be held in the fall. The team is looking for couples who have been planning to marry but have been affected by some sort of hardship. Maybe you know someone who has lost their job, experienced a severe illness or been in an accident? Perhaps you know someone who's just been putting it off because every time they get ahead in the planning and saving for their wedding something unexpected happens and depletes their savings.

Wedding Saviours can rescue them!

Couples apply and then compete in a series of community challenges, the list gets whittled down until there are 3 couples vying for a free wedding. The final challenges will produce a winning couple who will then work with the Wedding Saviours team of professionals to put on the wedding of their dreams. The KW Wedding Saviours team has thought of everything... they have pros ready to assist you with the dress and tux, hair, nails, flowers, decor, photography, makeup, videography and more!

I've fallen in love with the Wedding Saviours idea because it's a project giving people just a little more than they need. Do we NEED big fancy weddings? No. Really, the wedding is only a public declaration of a couples vow to each other. But do we want our weddings to be fabulous, representing how beautiful our love is for our partner? Absolutely. And that's where Wedding Saviours comes in.

So pass this on to someone who deserves a wedding with all the bells and whistles. Pass this on to a girl who deserves to have gorgeous flowers and a pretty (non-grocery store) cake. Then encourage them to visit the Wedding Saviours website, where they can apply and hopefully you'll see their smiling faces on this blog in a few months when we start encouraging the community to vote for the most deserving couple.