featured Poverty

Kendall Worth: Lonely hearts

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Valentine’s Day should be a time for celebrating, not for being alone in life. But if you receive income assistance from the department of Community Services, this is easier said than done.

However, there are affordable ways that a person living in poverty could spend Valentine’s Day, if they want to be creative.

But first I want to let the readers in on a conversation between a man on income assistance and a young woman who was sitting next to him on the bus.

The man, who I happen to know, was on his way home from his part time job. The young woman was from a foreign country, but living here in Nova Scotia, Canada.

They got into a conversation and she asked him if he was married.

The income assistance recipient said, no, I am single.  

The woman asked, so why are you not married and have kids?

“I do not know if you are familiar with this, but I receive income assistance. It is because of department of Community Services cohabitation policies I am required to abide by is why I am still single,” the man responded.

There you have it. For more on this, see my article Love works miracles, but your relationship is none of Community Services business.

Valentine Day is supposed to be about romance, but many people tell me that for financially better off people there are lots of opportunities not to feel alone on Valentine.

“For us of course the soup kitchens and drop-ins are still open but when we as people living in poverty go home for the evening we do not get to celebrate romance like financially better off people do on that day.”

“This means that for us as people living in poverty at least there are limited opportunities to not feel alone on that day.”

So anyway, you regular readers of the Nova Scotia Advocate may remember Jenny and her three friends, who I talked about in this story, Home for Christmas.

In a recent meeting I had with Jenny and her three friends, they shared some ideas with me on what people should be thinking about when it comes to Valentine’s Day, while being single and living in poverty.  

Think of Valentine’s Day as the best personal holiday ever for a person living in poverty. That is what Jenny and her friends have to say about Valentine’s Day.

Pretty much the same as celebrating your birthday alone with little or no money to do anything to celebrate.

But you don’t care, go celebrate it anyway! You will find a way!

That got me thinking.

Maybe people who are in this situation can meet and have a social gathering on Valentine’s Day. This way each person who feels this way knows they are not alone.  

Now there’s an idea!

Kendall Worth is an award-winning anti-poverty activist who lives with disabilities and tries to make ends meet on income assistance.

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