She grew up in poverty, got pregnant and had her first child by age 16, raised three kids while her husband was in prison, and has managed to survive on a fixed government income, while supporting her child on disability. Debby did not choose this life. For her, poverty was not a choice, but a symptom of rampant inequality that starts at birth. Did you know that children born in poverty are 25% more likely to struggle with poverty as adults?1 Further, a recent study noted there is a strong correlation between a parent’s income and a child’s income potential, a link which has only gotten stronger in recent years as societal and market shifts have made it more difficult for those born into poverty to transition out of it.2 Without sufficient income, job prospects, or a family safety net, people like Debby are often faced with the choice to go hungry or end up homeless, but, because of Scott Mission, that choice no longer needs to be made.
Since 1941, Scott Mission has been a compassionate neighbour, walking with those that are struggling and in need of support and practical help. Scott Mission offers programs like an emergency shelter, hot meal programs, clothing banks, and food banks to help those in the GTA that are struggling with systemic poverty. Scott Mission walks with clients on a holistic journey to build wellness through various mental health and spiritual care programs, however, economic need is escalating among community members. “We are seeing a staggering number of new faces coming through our doors; people accessing our services for the first time,” says Peter Duraisami, CEO of Scott Mission. “There was a significant population that was financially struggling before inflation rose, but with the record increase this year, especially on food, many families can’t make ends meet, so they turn to us to fill in the gaps.”
Debby is one of those clients, accessing Scott Mission’s food banks for the past 47 years as a way to fill the gaps in her fixed income. “I raised three children, so I’m pretty good at budgeting and stretching things, but without the help here, it would never stretch [enough]. Two weeks into the month we’re running short of food, so I go to the Mission.” Not only does Debby receive practical support but feels valued and loved by the staff and enjoys the connections she makes. “[Scott Mission] is one of the best places ever. I’ve got a lot of help and support – they’ve been fantastic.”
Not only does Scott Mission provide ongoing support year-round, but an extra effort is made to make the Christmas holidays special for those in need, like Rochelle. After having a child young, Rochelle has struggled to make ends meet and has been grateful for Scott Mission’s support, particularly around the holidays. “Money was too tight to afford [presents]… and I always felt like I had to either take out of my rent or out of places where you really shouldn’t, to buy presents for my kids.” Scott Mission was able to walk with Rochelle and provide dignity to her and her kids through our Christmas program. “It was pretty cool because they were like, ‘Hey, what do you actually need?’ Just actually getting to know me personally, what me and the children needed, I felt like that was super helpful as well. It was just a really big relief to have that support.”
“Our service-based programs are crucial to what we do,” says Peter Duraisami. “Our mission is to be a compassionate neighbour to those around us and share the love of Jesus with everyone. Jesus always took care of people’s immediate needs, such as sickness or hunger, as well as tending to their spiritual needs. We model that through our programs. A bag of groceries is not just food, a Christmas present is not just a toy, it’s a sign of hope and love to someone in need.”
To learn more about Scott Mission’s programs and to partner in their work by donating, please visit scottmission.com. “We can’t do it by ourselves. We need partners and donors to bring hope and transformation to those in need,” says Peter Duraisami.