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'Sandwich for a Story' offers Calgary's homeless an opportunity to share their tale
Sam Sawchuck, one of the founders of Sandwich for a Story, offers some food to a woman near the 5 Ave flyover
Ryan White, CTV Calgary
Published Monday, October 13, 2014 3:19PM MDT
Last Updated Monday, October 13, 2014 5:57PM MDT
University students Evan Beck and Sam Sawchuck spent part of their Thanksgiving weekend handing out sandwiches to the city’s homeless in the hope of learning more about the individuals who reside on Calgary’s streets.
"We started doing this because we noticed that there's huge stigma and stereotype surrounding homelessness that we don't think is true," said Evan.
The insight Evan and Beck gain during their time listening to the stories of Calgary’s downtrodden does not fade away. The students are the co-founders of Sandwich for a Story, a blog which aims to humanize the city’s homeless. The website includes videos recorded during their encounters.
"The idea is that through familiarity breeds empathy,” explains Evan. "When you start realizing these homeless people are not so much different than yourself, than you start feeling empathy for these people.”
Not everyone is keen on discussing their lives with Evan and Sam. The sandwiches are a gift and the homeless members who receive the food are not obligated to discuss their lives with the students.
The food is intended to serve as an icebreaker but is often met with skepticism.
"At first they're a bit startled, they don't know how to react,” said Sam. “Then they gradually warm up to us."
Minnie ‘Gloria’ McCauley says the food offering improved her day and provided her with the strength she needs to continue. Minnie says she tries, and will continue to try, to leave the streets, but she encounters obstacles.
"I try but I can't get any help anywhere,” said Minnie. “I'm not giving up, I'm going to make it."
While Calgary’s homeless enjoy a free meal, Evan and Sam say they are the ones who are rewarded during their interactions, as they receive insight into what really matters.
"For me, it's just being more grateful,” said Sam of the lessons he’s learned. “Having more materialistic things in life shouldn’t be that big of a deal."
To view the stories, or for more information, visit Sandwich for a Story.