For National Volunteer Appreciation Week 2018 we shared part of Andreas's story with you. Now we'd like to share his extraordinary journey with you in more detail. His story, like so many other Homes First residents, is one of bad luck and incredible resilience.
Andreas began helping shelter staff with deliveries while still in residence. When he walked into the storeroom for the first time, he declared
Mama-Mia!, is this a storeroom or a dump?!
and got stuck in reorganizing things floor to ceiling. Through his hard work and dedication, the storeroom transformed from chaos to order. Now two years out of the shelter he continues to support Homes First by volunteering.
Starting over is never easy, and Andreas has done it three times. Andreas began his career as an elevator technician in Cyprus in the 1970s. Political unrest in the region forced his migration to Canada. It was the first time he lost everything and had to start over again. In Toronto, Andreas became a baker and lived in a beautiful house with his family. But when he separated from his wife his life fell apart, again and again, he started over. Back on track and living in a rental house with his two dogs he is emotional when he remembers the day the ceiling caved in from water damage and black mold caused his health to decline.
Eviction followed. Unable to breathe deeply and with barely the energy to move Andreas arrived at Homes First St. Clair Shelter. Here he began life again for the third time.
I never knew what kinds of people and what life stories where inside of the shelter until I arrived-Andreas
Moreover, now he credits his friends and the Homes First staff with helping him start over again. Andreas is incredibly hardworking and organized and now enjoys giving back to Homes First. His doctor thinks the work he does for the shelter has helped him recover from his physical health problems. Every day your donations of clothing and goods inspire Andreas and help Homes First residents get their lives back on track.
Homes First has a variety of volunteer opportunities available. The Homes First volunteer program is open to community members as well as residents and is possible thanks to donations made to the Homes First Foundation General Fund.
For information on how you can get involved, please contact Ryan Evershed firstname.lastname@example.org, our volunteer coordinator.