“I ran a successful business and was content in my life with a loving husband and two wonderful children. But nothing was ever the same after I declared bankruptcy,” said Cristina while she recalled her past.
“Each day was more difficult than the last as I had no job, little to no money, and barely any means to help myself out of the situation,” she said.
Days turned into months, but the never-ending misery continued for her. “I was worried sick about my children, I wondered what they had done to deserve this life. Like any mother, I thought my two children deserved nothing but the best. I wanted to shower them with unconditional love, support and comfort, but I was failing in my attempts,” she said.
“In order to keep them happy and well-fed, I started to starve myself as I was unable to afford food for all. Every time my kids asked me to sit down with them to eat, I made excuses and told them that I was full,” she said.
“Time flew by, things were the same until the day I collapsed and was taken to the hospital. I thought I was going to die as the doctors told me my organs were slowly shutting down. I was scared! I was scared for my kids, who embraced me as they feared I was on my last legs of my life,” she said, her voice breaking down.
“When my children left my side, a cop approached me and asked me what had happened. After he heard my story, he excused himself and came back with a cup of coffee and a piece of paper that mentioned the phone contact information of Knights Table,” she said.
“During my hospital stay, whenever he came by, he always asked me if I had the contact number of the place,” she said.
Following her discharge, she visited Knights Table, a food bank and a community kitchen which has been serving the peel region for over 27 years.
“As I walked through the doors, I felt comfortable and accepted. I was greeted with friendly smiles and people who didn’t judge me for my situation,” she said.
While vividly recalling her first visit and more, she said, “I was not just provided with food but also with other necessities. Under different programs, my kids got help with their education and other activities. I will forever be grateful to Knights Table for the constant support and help.”
“It gave me new hope and a better perspective of life,” she added.
At present, Cristina is doing well for herself. She also helps people who are miserable and vulnerable.
She believes that she cannot change the world alone but can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples.
Cristina’s story can be anyone’s story. Even with the highly developed market economy, poverty seems to be a big threat to humanity in Canada. As per Canada Without Poverty statistics, 1 in 7 people live in poverty. As per Peel District School Board report, 1 in 5 children live in poverty.
Many community kitchens such as Knights Table help in alleviating hunger in the community and supporting the homeless. Every donation made or volunteering attempt makes the world a better place to live in. This Thanksgiving, let’s join hands together in supporting and empowering the community.
Story told by: Cristina
Written by: Devyaani