Homeless and Hungry

Homeless and Hungry
by Linda Leigh
Categories: Articles, Feature, Mobile, Newswire
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Jim was 70, penniless and living in a storage locker when he turned to The Salvation Army in Belleville, Ont., for help. “I was in a pit,” says Jim. “And there was only myself to blame.”

Jim was raised in a middle-class family and was a good kid until his teens. Then he started drinking.

“I eventually married,” says Jim. “By then alcohol dominated my life. When I drank I was angry and aggressive. My addiction cost me everything.”

Before long Jim’s losses fell like dominos―first his house, then his step-children, then his marriage. He lived in hotels, stayed with friends and slept under bridges until he went to Alcoholics Anonymous and got straightened out.

“I did well,” says Jim. “I worked at the same job for 20 years―had nice homes and cars. But when I received an inheritance, which could have provided me more financial stability, I let it all slip through my fingers.”

Jim wasn’t disciplined or careful with his inheritance. From high-end restaurants to lavish vacations he soon found he’d incurred debt and didn’t have a cent in the bank.

“I sold my house to pay off debt and lived in my car,” says Jim. “Then I sold my car to get a room. When I couldn’t afford the room, I lived in a storage locker. My life had completely fallen apart.”

Jim swallowed his pride and asked The Salvation Army for help. “Did anybody see me? I’d wonder as I left the food bank,” says Jim. “The staff was helpful and didn’t judge me. They treated me with respect. That was important to me. It was all I had left.

“Today I live in subsidized housing, am on a fixed income and come to The Salvation Army’s food bank and community meals frequently. Without The Salvation Army I’d be extremely hungry.

“I think of the Army as my friend. It is more than a food bank. It has helped me physically and emotionally. As old as I am I still need hope. Their assistance is life itself. I can’t thank them enough.”