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I am here to say - It’s NOT ok!

As I sat down to write the first post for Work MY Mojo, it began with the simple task of introducing who we are and why we do what we do, and our dreams for a better society. Yet, I witnessed something this morning which has been eating away at my conscience all day. So, before I begin about us, me and the why in the words of one of my most favorite local healers.

I am here to say (Lindsay’s fav intro) …. it is not ok!

This morning I was in a local, well known consignment shop to browse and to make an appointment to hand over some items for the Fall to consign. This is what I saw happened right in front of me. And, I am here to say it is not ok!

The shop was empty apart from a young girl who was making an appointment for a fitting. The shop is well known for its community initiative to suit someone up for an interview outfit to be able to secure full time work. The owner was having an enlightened conversion, congratulating the girl on graduating and explaining in detail what she will be doing for her. It came down to a generous fitting donation of an entire outfit, complete with shoes and accessories. The girl was elated, and very thankful for the donation.

As the conversation continued, an older woman walked in. She was cautious by nature, as I could tell she felt uncomfortable. As she listened to the owner speak to the young girl, I saw her person soften and become relaxed. Intuitively, I felt that she was there for a fitting as well.

Well before this older woman, who I will name Jodie, could introduce herself, the owner blurted out “I just called the employment office, and I don’t have time to fit you today for the interview clothes.” This really rattled Jodie, as this was 10:30 a.m., and she had an out of town interview at 1 p.m. She had confirmed this appointment with the shop, specifically as she had the interview and had nothing presentable to wear.

Jodie was noticeably devastated. She tried to explain that she had an interview that afternoon, and had nothing to wear. The owner shut her down, and said she was already busy. Side note – the store was empty. Jodie said she understood, then asked when can she rebook as there were many interviews coming up.

Despite that the owner’s calendar was right in front of her, she exclaimed “I am not aware of my schedule. I will call the employment office, and they will get back to you”. Jodie answered, “I am here in front of you, and your calendar is in front of you. Why can’t we book something now?”

Not to needlessly go on, this owner who has perhaps benefitted in the local community with kudos on how she is helping women she basically blew off, humiliated and treated someone in need with distain. When Jodie asked her what to expect, the owner blurted back – “You get a top and bottom, that is it!”

Now, let’s go back to the beginning. Jodie heard the prior conversation with the girl and the owner. Jodie knew that the owner had the ability to book an appointment for her. Jodie knew that the voucher she was given by the employment office included an entire outfit. Jodie left in tears, and most likely very stressed out having to go to an interview in what she was wearing.

Well, what went on here is not ok!

Belittling a person already down is NOT OK! Jodie is trying to reach herself back up.  It was evident that the owner viewed the young girl in a positive light due to her age.  As Jodie was an older woman, she was stigmatized with an attitude that she must have done something to be in this situation at her age, that she is beneath treating with respect.

This is not ok.

This is exactly why I founded Work MY Mojo. We are here to make a difference. We are here to create a better, more caring world. It is not ok to play lip service to helping, and not treat those you profess to help with nothing other than decency and respect. Especially when others are NOT looking. I would bet the owner has never gotten her hands dirty and actually served in homeless shelters, or soup kitchens. She professes to help, to her peers and the local business community, yet her actions demonstrate a greater problem here.

Volunteerism is dying in Canada, housing and food prices are rising, rents are unreasonable, homelessness is rising in dramatic numbers especially within youth, and the LGBT communities, unemployment is rising, baby boomers are being systematically downsized from well-earned positions, only to experience the real life of the working poor of no benefits, diminishing rights, and low wages.

As a child, I never dreamed that Canada would get to a situation where eating was a luxury, and the cost of living makes it unbearable to even get to work for many. With over 850,000 Canadians using food banks to survive, as estimated by Food Banks Canada, it is scary that affordable food is out of reach for low income households, and, in particular those on social assistance. With average food prices reaching about $900 in most major cities for a family of four, coupled with rising housing prices and stagnant incomes, rising unemployment and underemployment, it is not a surprise the dependency on food bank use.

Government programs are not helping, and the social welfare system itself is causing homeless rates to rise, poverty to continue and people not being able to get out of from the disparaging structure of the system.

Do you know….

If a parent has 3 children and needs shelter they can only bring two of them, in most shelters across Canada.

There are no shelters that allow pets in Canada.

Although the majority of homeless youth are members of the LBGT community, there is only one shelter that supports these youth? It just recently opened up in Toronto.

The majority of government employment initiatives to get you back to work if downsized are based on your credit score, and if you happen to be educated and a person with managerial experience there is a waiting period of up to 26 weeks before you are eligible (and during the waiting period you are limited to working only 20 hours per week).

Think about it – you are off work, perhaps getting employment benefits, and are limited to working less than part time yet when the waiting period is over, there is a credit check and a requirement of put in up to 4% of the value. Works for some. Yet it doesn’t work for most of us who have been downsized.

There is so much more I wish to tell you, and I will through this blog as life comes up.

And I am here to say….

We need to step up the quality and quantity of donations to outreach ministries and food banks. Healthy food should be affordable and accessible for everyone. We must devote more time to volunteering. Lend some time to the community. We must stop the lip service that we are helping, and actually walk the talk!

The homeless and working poor have names, families, dreams and passions. They are not invisible. We have to be aware of and tackle the disaster that is occurring in our local communities where people can’t afford housing, food and basic needs.

Most people are about two pay checks from being homeless, or near homeless. It could happen to anyone. Work MY Mojo will work to reduce, and work towards elimination of poverty and homelessness in local communities through sending directly to not-for-profits cash earned from our e-cart. We are already providing food banks, shelters and social justice initiatives with access to healthier food options, at our cost. Work MY Mojo provides low cost holistic, macrobiotic grocery and personal household goods to ministries, outreach ministries involved in welfare, food banks and shelters in local communities across Canada.

All the money raised through our Donation Shopping initiative goes to food banks, shelters and outreach missions.

We are a Christian family, and attend a local Bible based faith church, so 10% of what is raised goes to Christian based outreach ministries and missions all across Canada, as tithing.

It is my belief that change starts with responsibly sourced charitable contributions that fund a charity's cause rather than its operation. With every purchase, we're able to contribute donations to thoroughly-researched charities and not-for-profit organizations. What is the profile of the charities we donate to? We start with research. Online tax filings say volumes.

We research the charities we donate to you on your behalf. They must fund the charity’s cause rather than their operations. Believe it, yet in our own local community here in Guelph while some charities give 90% to the cause, and only 2% to management and administration others are giving 15% or less to the charity’s cause, and over 78% to management and compensation!

Have a favorite local charity? Check out http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/ebci/haip/srch/advancedsearch-eng.action for their tax filings. Canada Revenue provides a pie chart that categorizes where the money goes. And check further – some charities list additional management and administration expenses under the category Other. So sometimes a quick look they pass, yet looking further they don’t.

Well, not surprising Work MY Mojo would send the money raised to the charity giving back, not taking advantage of donors and the recipients of their cause.

Welcome to the world of Work MY Mojo where my blog will educate you, evoke you to act, inspire you and at times, anger you. Whatever it takes to make the world a better place I am here to tell you – I WILL!

Michele D.

CEO Work MY Mojo