The Ottawa Pie Our Mayor Challenge is a fundraising campaign with a goal of raising $10,000 for Operation Come Home. When we reach our goal, we get to throw a pie in the Mayors face!
The owners of my Tim Horton's location along with other franchise owners in Ottawa reached out to me and offered to match all donations made to the #PieOurMayor campaign up to $10,000! I've titled it the #doubledouble initiative.
Now a donation of $250=$500 for Operation Come Home,
Now a donation of $100=$200 for Operation Come Home.
Click to visit our crowd funding page
The Mayor of Ottawa has agreed to have a pie thrown in his face
if we can raise $10,000 for Operation Come Home.
At the age of 19, I found myself homeless with nowhere to go. Although I knew there were homeless shelters in the city, I had heard such bad things about them that I felt an empty garage (which I had access to) would be a better option than going to a shelter. It was late October and there I was, sleeping on an old shabby futon I bought on Kijiji for $10. I was hurting, I was scared, and I was alone. I felt hopeless, what was I going to do? Where was I going to live? It was overwhelming to even think about.
In early winter, on a cold and snowing night, I was wandering around downtown and became hungry. With no money on me for food, I thought I could try going to the Shepherds of Good Hope, just to get a meal. As I went inside to get food, I found the place to be pretty good. It seemed scary at first, but I found that it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. When I asked about a bed to stay, they told me that they had one, so I decided to stay the night. That night there were two fights in the shelter. As I began to fall asleep I felt someone grab under my pillow to see if there was anything of value. Still it was better than before.
When I moved to the youth shelter, I didn’t know where I would go next or what might happen even a week from then. I had left everything I knew behind and I was on my own. The instability and insecurity was very hard for me. It contributed to intense anxiety and I had difficulty coping with the emotions that I was feeling. I wondered if I would ever make it out of there, if I would ever succeed, if I would ever have stability. At some points, I just wanted to give up.
In trying to cope with everything I was going through, I began to drink and use drugs to escape the pain. If I could get drunk or high, even if it was just for an hour or two, I wouldn't have to feel the pain. So I began to use, more and more, to escape my reality and I became addicted. I remember one night, when buying my drug of choice downtown, I was jumped by 6 men. They beat me up and took everything I had. Covered in blood, I was taken in an ambulance to the hospital to get stitches in my head. The next day, I went to the same spot to buy more. The addiction cost me everything I had. It was destroying my life. I knew if I continued to use, it would just hurt me more, but the pain I felt without my drug of choice was so unbearable that I didn’t care if it hurt me, I just needed to escape.
I wanted better for myself, I wanted to change. With time and perseverance, I mustered up everything I had and faced the realities and the consequences of my choices. I began to take back control of my life. With help from Operation Come Home, I moved into my very first apartment and began living independently. I was referred to an addictions program in Operation Come Home called Project STEP, where I began to work on my addiction with a counselor. I learned healthy ways of coping and reflected on what I could do to better my life. I began working at FarmWorks, a social enterprise where homeless and at-risk youth grow organic vegetables and gained valuable job experience.I went on to complete a three month addictions treatment program and came back clean and ready to continue work on my life goals.
Now, nearly four years later, I work part time at a local coffee shop, I live on my own, I’ve been clean and sober for over two years, and I’m in college studying business marketing. I have had to fight many battles and climb many hills to get to where I am today, and I couldn’t have gotten here without the help and support of Operation Come Home. I want to make sure that the next Shlomo to walk through the doors of OCH has the help and support that I was given to get to where I am today. So we’re raising $10,000 to pie Mayor Jim Watson in the face! Who’s in?!
What is Operation Come Home?
Operation Come Home is a local non-profit organization that works with homeless and at-risk youth in the city of Ottawa. Operation Come Home offers a variety of programs and services including: a drop-in and resource center, employment programs, an alternative high school, a housing program, an addictions support program, counselling services, and more. They also operate 3 social enterprises to employ youth and give them valuable life skills, experience, and job training. For more information about the great work Operation Come Home does visit www.operationcomehome.ca
To make a donation to Operation Come Home for this campaign visit to our crowd funding page.
I want to give a big thank you to
Lynda Franc & Eric Bollman
for all of their help in making this campaign a reality.
Also a big Thank you to Mayor Jim Watson
for being a great sport and taking a pie to the face.