by: Kathleen Smith

We live in a big, complicated world and we are surrounded by tragedies and injustice.  Thanks to modern communication technology, we’re more aware of this than ever before, with every failure of justice, kindness, and compassion in the world constantly accessible on our phones and computers.

In such a world, it is easy to get discouraged, and even to feel despair.  I get that, I really do.  But one of the best ways I have found of fighting back against discouragement and despair is to find the things I can do in my own life to make the world more just, more compassionate, and more kind.

And I may be biased, but I think an amazing way to do this is to support Making Strides for Sanctuary, Sanctuary’s annual fundraising run/walk/roll.  At Sanctuary, we are trying to build a better world, starting in our little corner of downtown Toronto. 

We believe it is wrong for people who are homeless or experiencing poverty to be excluded, rejected, and treated as an aesthetic problem or neighborhood nuisance. 

So, we extend a particular welcome to people experiencing homelessness and poverty, and give them leadership roles in our community.  We do our best to eliminate the “us and them” dichotomy between people who are wealthy and people who are poor by eating together, working together, praying together, and prioritizing friendship over traditional models of “service.”

We believe that healthcare is a universal human right, but poverty, homelessness, and the inflexibility of our healthcare system create huge obstacles for people to access quality care.

So, we run a clinic with three dedicated nurses who go above and beyond to meet the healthcare needs that would otherwise go unmet.

We believe that opportunities to be creative are a fundamental human need, but that it is wrong for such opportunities to be reserved only for the privileged. 

So, we host a weekly studio spaces for community artists, collaborate on special arts projects, and keep music, from open mic nights to community concerts, at the beating heart of our community life.

We believe that the complex and sometimes hostile bureaucracy of the housing, social assistance, healthcare and legal systems create unacceptable barriers to justice and care for many people, especially people who are homeless or poor. 

So, we go with people to appointments, help people with forms and applications, and offer whatever kinds of advocacy and support is necessary to help people deal with these systems.

We believe that everyone has a right to safe, affordable housing.

So, we operate two community houses that offering supportive housing for 8 members of our community.  We also participate in advocacy work to convince our local, provincial, and federal government that housing and shelter for all must be a priority.

These are just slices of the work we do as a community.  But really, it can all be summed by saying:

We see tragedy and injustice all around us.

So, we are trying to make a different kind of world in our little community in the middle of Canada’s largest city. 

We are inspired by the life and teachings of Jesus, and our belief in the good news of his resurrection.  This drives and animates us.  But we welcome everyone, regardless of creed, to be part of our community and to join us in trying to build a different kind of world.

If any of this work resonates with you or inspires you, I would like to invite you to partner with us by supporting Making Strides for Sanctuary.  You can register to run, walk, or roll, start a team, fundraise, or donate.  This is a very special and exciting way to support Sanctuary, because there is a group of donors who are going to match every donation dollar-for-dollar up to $40,000!  So, every $1 you donate will be worth $2 until we reach $80,000. 

You can sign-up and donate at tinyurl.com/sancstrides19.

We live in a big, complicated world and we are surrounded by tragedies and injustice. 

So, I invite you to partner with us in making strides for a better world.

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