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Client at Haven Toronto, a MAZON partner

As winter arrives, most of us are grateful for warm homes, hot meals, and a place to shelter from the pandemic - and those who lack them are in more danger than ever before. MAZON is proud to have supported 38 programs that help mainly homeless clients so far in 2020. Today, learn a little more about our neighbours who live without shelter:

1. FOOD BANKS DON’T HELP MUCH. You can’t go pick up dried beans or pasta if you have nowhere to cook them. These people rely on a different network of agencies that serve on-site or take-away meals.

2. GETTING FOOD MEANS HARD CHOICES. There are many programs that serve free food all over Canada. You can eat regularly in some cities if you know the network - but moving between programs and shelters by public transit takes the whole day. If someone has an appointment with a social worker, an interview for a subsidized apartment, or doesn't feel safe taking the bus in a pandemic, it might mean skipping meals.

3. THEY FACE DISCRIMINATION. Even if you have a few dollars to buy food, it can be hard to get in the door of a store or restaurant. If you everything you own is in a cart or backpack, you certainly won’t want to it leave unattended to go inside a store, and you’ll likely experience discrimination if you haven’t had the chance to shower or do laundry in a while.

4. PUBLIC BATHROOMS SAVE LIVES. People living outdoors rarely have access to bathrooms or kitchens where they could prepare themselves or their food for hygienic eating. Infections and pneumonia are common causes of death among people who live outdoors. “Customers only” signs and a lack of truly public bathrooms are a nuisance for many, but a crisis for people without homes.

5. SOME PEOPLE STILL NEED SPECIAL DIETS. Like everyone else, there are people without housing who are celiac, have serious food allergies, or need to manage health conditions like diabetes with careful food plans. Someone who has not been able to afford dental care for many years, or even a bathroom to safely and hygienically brush their teeth, might also need a special soft-foods diet.

6. HUNGER KILLS, EVEN IN CANADA. While it’s rare for a person to starve to death in Canada, malnutrition and irregular food access are high risk factors for cardiovascular disease, which is a leading cause of death among our homeless neighbours.

7. YOU CAN HELP. Your gift to MAZON supports people living without shelter all across Canada. You can also call or write to your local representatives and tell them increased shelter support and affordable housing is a high priority for you as a Canadian voter and as a Jew. DONATE NOW.


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