What does Boaz mean to her? I feel like I belong!

When I moved to Canada, my most challenging thing was not understanding the language and having no friends.

My name is “sunshine”, and I am 16 years old. I am the last of eleven children in my family and I come from one of the smallest countries in Africa, Burundi.

We asked this young lady what our local BOAZ MOSAIC program meant to her? MOSAIC is designed to create a safe place for teens to come together and live life together, and learn about each other’s customs, building friendships with those from other cultures.

Mosaic means alot to me because I got to make new friends from everywhere and they were open to talk whenever I had a question or was facing a hard time. It is also a place where everyone belongs and you can share anything and no one will judge you. Because of this group, I feel like I belong and am facing less challenges because of it!

We are proud of you Lucy!

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No shoes, no socks… it can be a problem

She came to our attention about a week ago. Here in our city was a teen without a pair of shoes to wear, other than her sneakers with the soles ripped in half.

I will come back to her story in a moment….

Last year I heard the story of a young man in need of shoes that went to school each day having very low self esteem. His mom, though she wanted to, was not able to buy him shoes.

The people around saw his vulnerability and some people decided they would get this boy some shoes if he would simply pick up an extortion envelope from a business. It was that easy, he would serve the g_ng by getting their money, and in return he would get nice shoes.

The next day when he went to school and had on nice new “kicks”, lots of kids noticed and told him how nice they were, and his self esteem was on the mend. It was the beginning of a life of pain that led to jail and nearly destroyed his life.

It all started with a pair of shoes!

Since I heard that story I have always had my heart attuned to this specific need. The need for basics like footwear and clothing.

So when we saw this need, I shared with some friends . They stepped into this space to take care of this need.

We went to the shoe store and the teen bought socks, shoes and new sandals. We got her sushi for lunch, her choice! We bought her some needed clothing. She dint have socks either!

I would rather have her self esteem lifted up, and have her remember that there are people who care, no strings attached. She has value and God loves her!

Thank you to all who made this possible!

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National Holiday Celebrations

No matter how difficult life can be there can be moments to celebrate!

Tomorrow is Haiti Flag Day, the day set aside to celebrate the culture and heritage of the Haitian flag. The key elements in their flag are the weapons, that show their readiness to defend their freedom and a royal palm tree that represents their independence.

We want our kids to be proud of the fact that they are Haitian and that their country truly is beautiful.

The Haitian people are beautiful people, we love them and are proud to call them friends.

Let’s celebrate with them!

Our kids and staff celebrated today!

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The truly desperate cries of a loving mom

I just want my daughter and I to….

A 30 year old mom who loves her beautiful nine year old daughter is absolutely desperate. She and her daughter have not eaten in two days, and they are very unwell physically, mentally and emotionally because of their situation, starvation is real.

As she approached another young mom, Paola, in one of our ministry locations, she said these words through many tears, ” I am thinking about giving my daughter and I poison, so that we can die and stop this pain.”

I often ask myself this question, what does not having food to eat do to a person? What is the impact on our ability to make decisions, at what level does it impair our judgements? I believe not being able to eat robs a person of so much and creates extreme, yes extreme vulnerability.

For those who have never experienced food insecurity, we simply have no capacity to understand that pain, stress and hopelessness. It is devastating!

I instructed Paola to feed this mom and her sweet daughter. We sent money in to help meet this immediate need. Paola also is extremely poor, and she knows first hand how lack of food destroys lives and causes vulnerability.

The Word of God is clear, Matt. 25:35 “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat” and Matt 25:40 “The King will reply, Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me ”

Paola was trafficked and prostituted beginning at age 12 herself. Why? because she had no food and needed to eat, she needed to eat!

Yes you can get to that point, the place where you have to eat or die.

If you would like to help feed Mary and Ashley and others like them, please give generously unto God. I will be sending more money for Mary, Ashley and Paola later today.

You can do so through Boaz at https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/m/34146/donation

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Food for thought…one woman’s journey

I want to use my blog to tell other people’s stories of victories and challenges. I hope you will read this account from a friend of mine, when it comes to food insecurity because of health and prices.

“I have been following your food journey and it has made me think.

I have some health challenges so I am looking at your experiment from a different angle … from my own personal perspective.

Your challenge would affect me quite negatively. Because of my illnesses I cannot eat how you have been eating and I cannot eat whatever I would like yet cost is not the problem. I have many food intolerances; not allergies and these foods cause me physical harm/discomfort. I have IBS and IBD and food is a big part of my treatment.

If I am being strict I am not supposed to consume MSG, wheat, dairy, caffeine, cinnamon, or alcohol. And many fruits and vegetables bother my system unless they are cooked. So as I have watched you post about the foods you have purchased and used to try and feed yourself, my thoughts kept coming back to these questions, “what would I do if I could not afford the foods I eat regularly? and “what is happening to the people who are struggling with food insecurity AND have health issues affect their food choices?”.

You see most of the alternative foods I buy are in the specialty food section of most grocery stores. I buy a lot of things that are made from rice and other substitutes for wheat. These products are almost always more expensive. A loaf of bread is 2-3 times more expensive and only half the size of a regular loaf of bread. I can eat very little that comes out of a can or package because it almost always has MSG in it. I read a lot of labels! It either says monosodium glutamate or when spices are not listed separately you can safely assume MSG is included to help the food last longer on those shelves. Dairy is in many savoury dishes and desserts so it is also difficult to avoid and the alternatives like almond and soy milk take some getting used to and are not cheap. I don’t have a problem avoiding caffeine or alcohol. I just drink a lot of water.

However, I struggle with the food/health connection and as I said, watching your progress during the last month has given me much *food for thought*.

How can we help those who are fighting to feed themselves when they also have food allergies/intolerances? They should not be forgotten and/or given the largest cheapest bag of pasta one can buy. Just my thoughts. Thanks for listening and being an advocate.” M-L

$5.09 for four hamburger buns

$5.39 for a loaf of bread, and look at the size of the loaf and size of the bread

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Today’s meal was from an unexpected place

Yesterday was a fabulous day, hanging out with our granddaughter after church and just enjoying her positive little heart. We love her, what a gift from God!

After inquiring with her what she might want for lunch, she thought french fries and a cheeseburger would be good, plus it came with a book, she loves to read and yogurt and apple juice.

We brought her food home and she sat down to eat her cheeseburger happy meal. She ate most of her fries and nibbled away at her burger. Then she was done eating after finishing up her yogurt.

We put her leftover burger in the fridge, I don’t want to see food wasted and she was coming to our house today.

Today she came and I reminded her that the rest of her burger was in the fridge and I asked her if she wanted it. She happily said yes and ate more of her burger, and left what she didn’t want on the counter.

I was working away on things and my wife cleaned up in the living room and put the leftover pieces of burger in a box to be put in the garbage. At supper time I was thinking what I would have to eat and was cleaning up the counter. I was about to toss the box in the garbage when I saw the little bit of burger left.

I ate it! I ate it!

When I did, I had the feeling of what it could possibly feel like to eat someone else’s garbage. It was very humbling!

I hesitated to share this story, but I think hunger makes us look for creative solutions.

Maybe those solutions for some people are digging through someone else’s waste, someone else’s “garbage”.

I love my granddaughter and can’t wait to treat her to something special again, not so I can eat her leftovers, simply because she is an incredible little girl that is constantly teaching me how to be a better person!

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I could begin to feel the pain a bit more

Walking the aisles of the grocery store for 30 minutes, was exhausting, you want to know why?

The battle in my mind was in two areas:

What could I buy for 1.75? I encourage you to take walk though any supermarket and the reality is there is almost nothing available for that price, that can sustain a person more than one day.

Second debate in my mind! Should I spend the 1.75 today if I found something to fill the above need? If I was willing to wait and I received a dollar from someone in the next two or three days I could then buy eggs, which is what I really want, because I feel it would be a great long term purchase.

I began to really think about those who do without many days, maybe it is because they need to not spend money for a few days in order to try and purchase something that will sustain them.

But when you are really hungry, sometimes you can’t wait. You have to take care of the immediate need, at the expense of the long term.

I wish some foods were much more cheaper to buy. Why do things that are best for us appear most expensive? Why are things that are cheap to purchase not healthy to eat?

I am learning again that those who cannot eat well or often, they likely suffer from more than hunger pains. Hunger impacts a person financially, emotionally, mentally, and physically.

So I decided to spend my 1.75 on a can of chick peas that I can add to rice, and a tomato because I needed something healthy and something long term.

I will need to wait til Friday likely to get my eggs! Maybe I can wait, but that will mean I can’t buy anything else. Hard hard choices!

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