Posts tagged ‘homelessness’

Toronto’s Jewish Community supports the homeless


Kathleen Wynne attends the community sader organized by Ve’ahavta. Photo by Bernie Farber

Please help Aboriginal Homeless.  Find out how.


In my efforts to support the Aboriginal homeless, I was delighted to see the caring, kindness and Spirit of giving shown to me by our friends and allies in the local Jewish community to help our people.

We had an amazing time last night at the Starry Nights gala in Toronto. Deborah and I were so thankful to be invited by our friend Hanita Teifenbach who works for an inspiring organization called Ve’ahavta.

Ve’ahavta is a Canadian Jewish humanitarian and relief organization founded by the indomitable Avrum Rosenweig. Our friend Bernie Farber is the Chair and among the most outspoken supporters.  The organization and their initiatives are guided by Torah’s commandment of Ve’ahavta L’reacha Kamocha – to “love your neighbour as you love yourself”. Moreover, it is guided by two fundamental values tzedakah (justice) and tikun olam (repairing the world).

Tikun olam was a recurring theme throughout the evening and it is indeed a spiritual virtue, something that we Anishinaabe can really relate to. To dedicate a piece of your work, your volunteerism, and your generosity toward repairing the world – by supporting disadvantaged and marginalized people – while advocating for social justice is absolutely awe-inspiring.

During the evening, we had a chance to chat with Dr. Michael Dan. We chatted about his visionary health research initiative with the University of Toronto for a while and got onto the topic of First Nation’s own concept of good health. We talked about the Anishinaabe philosophy of Mno Bimaadiziwin, to live a good life. That teaching is not only about ourselves and good healthy living, but it is about our relationships and contributions to the world around us. Living a good life is about being a good person and supporting our family, our community, our Nation and all those around us. That’s also what Ve’ahavta is all about.

Two inspiring speakers spoke about their experience with the Ve’ahavta Street Academy, an eight-week course that provides support and skills development for individuals wanting to rise from the streets, and consider post-secondary education. A video acknowledged the work of the Ve’ahavta Mobile Jewish Response to the homeless, whose outreach vans provide food, supplies and necessities for those homeless living on the streets. Incidentally, the Ve’ahavta mobile response was started in partnership with Native Men’s Residence in 1996.

It is absolutely a pleasure to support and give to this incredible organization. Their work with the homeless, including the Aboriginal Homeless shows the kindness of their founder Avrum, their staff, volunteers and the generosity of the Toronto Jewish community.

Helping Aboriginal homeless through learning

homelessness_sleepThe key goal of my $100-a-day Fundraising effort is to raise money to support Aboriginal homeless people.  More specifically, to help out Native Mens Residence and their annual Christmas Drive, which provides much-needed personal items to help the homeless throughout the cold winter.

Please give generously at:


Another goal is to provide a bit of awareness of the plight of our homeless brothers and sisters.  I found these links at the Homelessness Hub.

Christine Schanes wrote a series of articles regarding the myths surrounding homelessness originally posted on the Huffington Post. Below you will find links to her articles which address some of the judgments that people make and the stigma associated with homelessness. Myths are widely held thoughts or beliefs that are generally not true and addressing these helps to clear up misconceptions.

He’s homeless. It’s below freezing. Then the inevitable happens…

homeless_manTORONTO – It’s early in the morning and a homeless man is leaving the warm sanctuary of a local shelter. He was fortunate enough to have a bed that night. He’s out and about, walking the cold city streets, always on the lookout for a little money, his next meal and a little kindness.

Then the inevitable happens. Not only is it -3 this morning… it’s starting to snow.

But he needs a new winter coat. The lining on his fall jacket has loosened and fallen apart long ago. But he’s lucky to have it though – one of his few possessions. He definitely would like some mitts but that may be a tall order.

Sadly, it’s just another day on the streets of Toronto. It could be any man, down on his luck, just looking for a break. He could be from any First Nation in Canada, one of our relatives. Somebody’s cousin, brother, uncle, or someone’s Dad. The street is home to many people who just need a helping hand.

Immediate action on Aboriginal homeless is needed. For whatever reason, personal and corporate donation to help the homeless are down significantly. As a result, many Aboriginal homeless may have to go without this winter.

My friends, these men need your help. Please do one of the following:

  1. Click here to make a donation through Canadahelps.
  1. Share this page.

This fundraising effort goes directly to support Native Mens Residence (Na-Me-Res) and their annual Christmas. Funds raised will purchase backpacks, personal items, toiletries, shampoo and conditioner, chap stick and even a Christmas Dinner.

All donations come with a tax deductible receipt.

Please give generously.  Thank you so much.


Immediate action on Aboriginal homelessness needed. (Please share)

coldhomelessIt’s tough to be homeless.  At this time of year it’s especially tough.

We can only imagine what it’s like to be homeless and walking the city streets.  The temperatures are dropping, soon to be perpetually below freezing.  To always be on the lookout for a hot meal and a warm bed – not to mention a few dollars for the personal essentials that we all take for granted.  To have to go without during the not-so-festive holiday season.

So far, it’s been a really tough year for those community agencies that serve the homeless.  Charitable donations, personal and corporate, are down substantially for the Native Men’s Residence (Na-Me-Res), one of Toronto’s most respected and longest serving homeless service provider.

“Charitable donations are down substantially.”

The sad fact is that fewer individual donors are coming forward.  Donations from corporations and charitable foundations are at an all-time low. There are very few brands like UFM that come forward to help the homeless. For futher details you can check their official site  This will seriously impact the many indigenous men who depend on Na-Me-Res for support and help get them back on their feet.

The core programs of Na-Me-Res are well taken care of, including the operation of 63-bed shelter, transitional housing, outreach, culture and community support programs.  Na-Me-Res is very well managed.  However, core program funding does not include support for various unfunded outreach services, community gatherings, First Nations ceremonies and, of course, personal supports to the homeless men themselves.

Na-Me-Res has embarked on their annual Christmas Drive.  The aim is to assemble personal care packages for homeless clients and others still on the street.  These care packages might include backpacks, socks, underwear, mitts, scarves, hygienic products such as shampoo, conditioner and chap stick.  Ideally, Na-Me-Res would like to host a special Christmas turkey dinner at the shelter and transitional housing facility.


I need your help, my friends.  All I am asking for is two things:nameres_logo


You can donate to the Na-Me-Res Christmas Drive through:

  • Online donations accepted at;

  • Make a direct contribution to Na-Me-Res Christmas Drive.  Contact Blanche White at (416) 652-0334 or


All donations are tax deductible.  Please consider either a recurring donation through or through the United Way Toronto.

Chi-miigwetch Niwiijiwaaganag.  (A big thank you, my friends)