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 a community trying to build a better world, starting in our own little corner of downtown Toronto. Being a part of this community gives me hope, and makes me feel that I can be part of making the world be more like it ought to be.

I get sad and angry when I see people who are homeless or poor being excluded, rejected, or treated as an aesthetic problem or neighborhood nuisance. So, I love being part of Sanctuary, where people living in poverty are at the heart of 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 also try to fill gaps in our community and society that make life difficult and dangerous for our friends who are poor. We run an in-house clinic that makes healthcare accessible to people who have challenges accessing care in institutional settings; we host a weekly arts studio, sing and dance, and run regular arts initiatives because we believe that creativity is a fundamental human need and that everyone should have opportunities to express themselves; we accompany folks to appointments as advocates and friends to help navigate complex and sometimes hostile systems; and we offer—on a small scale—safe, affordable housing through our two community houses.

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 $50,000! So, every $1 you donate will be worth $2 until we reach $100,000.

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

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