Saturday, 13 December 2008

good neighbours

I am always amazed by the good people in cottage country. Whether it is a major snow dump for people too disabled to shovel, personal trauma; fires, sudden deaths, surgeries in far-off city centres, people in Muskoka give generously of their time, dollars and energy. In truth, many of us have personal and private issues that hit us harder during this season. In Ontario Victim Services can help guide you to finding help from the right places. People are on edge, with economic worries and the pressure of the season to deliver a postcard Christmas of joy and happiness.

There are many places to seek help.
There are many places that need your help.

Ontario Hunger Report 2008: The Leading Edge of the Storm. says that 314,258 people visited food banks in Ontario in March, 2008. Food banks are seeking perishable foods. Food costs have increased, a greater need has been seen in this current economic crisis. Those using food banks have been the working poor. The Ministry has promised to increase the minimum wage currently is is $8.75 per hour for those over age 18, and $8.20 per hour for teenage part-timers. By March 31, 2009, minimum wage is increasing to $9.50 an hour, a year later, 2010 it will rise to $10.25. Up here in Muskoka many have seasonal works, and students are employed summers. It is difficult to manage at this rate.

Women in crisis in shelters will find this a terribly difficult time of year. To empower them, our local shelter has asked for monetary donations, i.e., gift cards, so that mothers can be empowered to buy clothes or gifts for their children. They are the ones that know their kids best and can prioritize their needs.

Check in on neighbours frequently but do not risk your health by doing more than you can physically or emotionally manage. My husband, in trying to lift my late father, put out two disks and will likely never recover. Our parent's generation, having lived through The Depression, are reluctant to pay for services. There is a fear that finances will not last. I firmly believe, however, that it is well worth the cost to ensure that ADL, or IADL needs are being met. Meals on Wheels is an option for those who are housebound.

Reach out this season.

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