Julian Jordan is doing everything he can to make this holiday season a turning point for himself.
He started his Christmas Day by heading to the Scott Mission at College St. and Spadina Ave. for the organization’s annual Christmas meal. For Jordan, 29, it was his first time going there.
“I don’t have any money right now and I’m not in a shelter,” he said. “I’m really grateful because I’ve gone hungry before and it’s not fun.”
Jordan was one of more than 300 people who packed the dining hall for one of the Scott Mission’s 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. servings, featuring turkey, stuffing, potatoes, soup and dessert.
“We have a wide variety of people here,” said Holly Thompson, a spokesperson for the Mission. “I saw a mother and daughter, people who are on the street, people who are seniors, just people who might not have a time or place to be with family or friends. This is their Christmas festivities and without it they might not have anything.”
Speaking after his Christmas lunch, Jordan said he was hopeful the New Year would bring stability to his housing situation after a year of “life-changing experiences” and crashing at friends’ houses.
“I’m hoping in the next month, in January, that I can finally get myself on track and focused on where I need to be,” he said. “The reason I’m in this situation really is because I have a drinking problem and even having a job and having a bunch of money is definitely a trigger for me to drink, so I’m doing a lot of work on myself, looking at the underlying reasons to why I drink.”
Initiatives like the Mission’s Christmas Day meal have “helped out a lot,” said Jordan.
All the food served on Sunday came from either direct donations or purchased through funds that were donated leading up to Christmas, according to Thompson.
About 20 volunteers were on hand for what she described as the mission’s busiest day of the year. But more will be needed after the holiday season.
“We have tons of volunteers and without them it’s impossible to do this,” said Thompson. “Throughout the year, we always need volunteers. We have about 20 volunteers every single day to run the meals and the food bank but people can volunteer in other ways like doing clothing drives and donating the clothes. We have about 200 people come a day for clothes.”
G.K. Cameron often comes to the Mission on many Sundays and has come to the Christmas meal for the past three years. He said their generosity has changed his life.
“Scott Mission doesn’t push you, they just welcome you and if you want to follow in their paths you’re welcome,” said Cameron, 70. “I try not to get overwhelmed by it, but every year I do. It’s just overwhelming, the generosity and kindness that the Scott Mission offers to the down and out, the trodden, the unfortunate. If I could be half that, I’d be happy.”
Cameron, a retired school teacher, said he’s seen “tiny, little miracles” happen in his life since he started coming to the Mission a few years ago.
He was recently offered a bachelor apartment just around the corner, which he notes he “paid an arm and a leg for but it’s worth it.” He considers the staff at the mission his family.
“Miracles do happen,” he said. “My miracle is knowing the staff at the Scott Mission. They’re all special.”
He also knows that like so many others, he’ll never have to worry about being hungry on Christmas.
“It’s the best, the best, the best,” said Cameron. “I’m stuffed.”
Originally posted on thestar.com