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On a Saturday morning a few weeks ago, I found myself sharing coffee with a middle-aged couple in the tent where they had been living for a couple of months. We traded stories and talked about dogs and children, but the fact of their homelessness was weighing on them and they feared the coming cold weather. In spite of having decent, seasonal employment and making some good life choices, they had nowhere to live. They had called us for help because they were stuck.

Sometimes things get stuck. Sometimes you have nowhere to turn when your worst fears drop in your lap. Sometimes you feel like you’re alone with it all. Imagine how that feels.

At Green Wood Coalition we do more than imagine. We walk shoulder-to-shoulder with those who are hungry, homeless and hurting. We focus on the person, not their problems, and work together to find solutions to daily challenges.

Across our county, in large cities and small towns, we are failing the most vulnerable. The current crisis of affordable housing is increasing the pressure on a growing number of families and individuals living at or below the poverty line. They are falling into the gaps between formal services and feel abandoned. Many are forced to choose between food and other necessities in order to pay the rent. They rely on food banks and agency handouts to feed and clothe themselves and their kids. Christmas makes these choices – or lack of choices – worse.

This is why we need your help. Green Wood Coalition is entirely local and relies on community donations. While we are not alone in working to make a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable members of our community, we are different than traditional agencies. Green Wood’s outreach model is designed around building relationships, making deep, human connections and allowing people to reach their potential in an atmosphere of trust and respect.

This is an especially hard time of year for those struggling on the margins, those living with poverty, mental illness, addiction, housing and hunger. They feel socially isolated and stigmatized and, because of this, often remain hidden in communities like ours. But when your eyes are open – when you don’t look away – the need is not hard to see.

I’m asking you to consider making a one-time donation at this time or a series of monthly contributions that will help people who are stuck and have nowhere else to turn. With low overhead, Green Wood’s small staff, supported by skilled volunteers, provides street-level outreach, addiction recovery, healing through art, and community awareness and advocacy.

If you would like to have a conversation about donating or supporting our work in another way, please contact me by email at or by phone at 905-269-7610.

Warm regards,

David Sheffield

Community Director, Green Wood Coalition

*Illustration, "Building Community," by Shelby McQuilkin​

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