How would you feel if suddenly you had no income? This was the devastating consequence for Take (pronounced Tochy) after a ski accident prevented him from working. “I never thought that something so unexpected would happen to me,” says Take. “Or that my life would change so drastically.”
For years, Take lived his Canadian dream. An immigrant from Japan, he was a self-employed auto mechanic in Vancouver and enjoyed Canadian culture. Life was good. Then, in an instant, everything changed.
“I 2012 I injured my low back in a ski accident,” says Take. “I thought I’d bounce back quickly, but my back pain worsened and I couldn’t work. At the beginning my finances were OK, but eventually the money ran out. I had to skip meals, couldn’t pay the hydro bill or the rent and was evicted.”
“I came home one afternoon and the locks on my apartment were changed,” says Take. “I had no family in the country or friends who could help out. It was winter―cold and damp. With my backpack and $10 in my pocket I walked the streets in search of shelter. Every step brought more pain and less hope. It was early evening and the shelters he visited were full.”
When Take walked through the doors of The Salvation Army’s Harbour Light Emergency Shelter, he was thankful there was a bed for him.
"I have something to live for and that’s all thanks to The Salvation Army"
“I can’t tell you the relief I felt having a bed to lie down on, a roof over my head and heat,” says Take. “My first meal was a bowl of soup with steam coming out. I wanted to cry.”
Something to live for
“When I arrived at The Salvation Army I’d lost everything―my car, money, job and hope,” says Take. “I had no family in Canada and everything in my life seemed negative. I often thought, ‘What is the point of living?’”
With help from The Salvation Army, Take’s situation began to improve. Staff helped him complete documents to collect welfare and secure permanent housing. Access to the centre’s computer lab enabled him to connect with family in Japan. Caseworkers encouraged him to complete his high school education. In June 2015, Take graduated with a high school diploma.
“The Salvation Army lifted me out of a dark place and gave me hope,” says Take. “Today I volunteer at the Harbour Light drop-in centre as a means of giving back. Moving forward I want to be a counsellor for the homeless or at-risk youth. I have something to live for and that’s all thanks to The Salvation Army.”