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Meet Wendy

Nobody plans to be homeless. This Christmas, give someone hope for their future. Your gift will be matched by a generous anonymous donor.

Wendy is a well-educated professional who has made a career in nursing, a job dedicated to caring for others. She never imagined that one day she would find herself at Shepherds of Good Hope, homeless.

Without your support, Wendy wouldn’t be here today to share her story.

“I’m not sleeping on the street tonight because of the support from donors like you, who make sure Shepherds of Good Hope has the resources they need to help people staying at the shelter. People like me.”

So how did she end up here?

Read her story below:

I did everything right. After high school, I moved out on my own, graduated from college and university, and became a Registered Nurse. I got good grades and worked hard for 20 years at a job I loved. I got married and had a home of my own.

I did what I was supposed to do. I’m not supposed to be homeless. You never think it can happen to you, until it does.

Although you may not be aware of it, you might have friends or family members who go to work every day but are struggling with mental illness, suffering from abuse, or are plagued by addiction. When I was going through these things, nobody knew.

Nobody knew that my mother’s mental health challenges meant that I never got to be a child. Nobody knew that, as an adult, my husband physically abused me, or that I turned to alcohol to help me cope.

Just because I’m homeless, doesn’t mean I’m worthless.

Many of the people I’ve met here at Shepherds of Good Hope have had traumatic events in their lives. I used to think that alcoholics and homeless people chose this life. Boy was I wrong!

I was living in Toronto, working as a Registered Nurse at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. I met the man who I thought was the love of my life. The physical abuse started after one short week of marriage.

During the course of our relationship, he sent me to the hospital more times than I can count. I was so tired of being hurt at home and humiliated at work that I started drinking to cope. Drinking made life bearable. It helped me ignore and forget the pain.

I’ll never forget the look I got from one of my patients at the hospital when I went to work with two black eyes. To this day, I’m not sure if it was pity or fear. It was one of the moments that made me realize I’d had enough of the abuse.

Life was rough. I had to find my strength again. For several years, I put myself in and out of rehab. I ended up living at my parents’ home for the first time in years and I finally found the strength to leave my abusive husband.

When I thought I was well enough, I moved back to Toronto. I still struggled with my alcoholism but life wasn’t all bad. That’s when I met the man who is now my husband. At the time, we were attending the same rehab and we both had issues to work through. To be honest, we’re still working on how to live a more stable life with our alcoholism. He’s one of the main reasons I was able to move on from the trauma of my abusive marriage. He showed me what it was like to be in a caring, loving relationship.

We decided that moving to Ottawa, his hometown, would give us a fresh start. Unfortunately, a new city doesn’t make your problems go away. Our addictions continued to hold us back. I injured myself, breaking my pelvis in a fall. we ran out of money and couldn’t pay for rent or a hotel. That’s when I found myself walking through the doors of Shepherds of Good Hope.

Shepherds of Good Hope was here for me because of your support. Because of you, I didn’t have to sleep on the street.

Your donation to Shepherds of Good Hope helps to fund the shelter and qualified staff that can help people like me. Without Shepherds, I might not be here to tell you my story.

As you prepare for Christmas this year, and think about the gifts you have given or will give, please know how thankful we are for your support, and for your generosity toward helping people like Wendy. Please consider making a special gift today to support Shepherds of Good Hope and give hope and stability to the homeless and vulnerable people in our community. Your gift will be matched by a generous anonymous donor.

Please, give today. People like Wendy need your support this holiday season.

Homes for all. Community for all. Hope for all.