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Kendall Worth: Making the best of a life without much money

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – This year Easter Weekend is going to be different for Jenny and her three friends.

Jenny works, but was on welfare for years, until she found a job. Her friends are all three on income assistance.

I first introduced Jenny and her friends in this story, What people tell me about being grateful despite their poverty and isolation.  In this follow-up, Shopping for Thanksgiving dinner, I talked about how they helped each other not feel alone at Thanksgiving and now they are doing the same for the upcoming Easter holiday weekend.

For other stories on Jenny see: Full of hope, A helping hand – Community lifts young woman out of poverty, and finally, Home for Christmas.

Well, this year Easter weekend is going to be different for Jenny and her three friends. They  feel that they have developed a real good friendship with each other.

In the past the Easter weekend meant four days of lonesomeness and social isolation.

However for this year on Easter weekend that is not going to be the case. Jenny decided she was not going to watch her friends, who she now feels are like sisters to her, be alone for Easter. After all, four days of being lonely and feeling isolated on Easter Weekend or at anytime for that matter is no fun.

Unlike having friends over at your place just for one day at Thanksgiving, as the shopping for Thanksgiving story talks about, having overnight friends staying at your place for four nights is more costly, takes more planning and more preparation work is involved.

it is a good thing Jenny is working or otherwise she would not be able to afford to do this for her friends this year.

I asked her three friends how they spent Easter before.

“Kendall, just like any holiday when you do not have any family you can spend it with, we pretty much slept it away and we do agree that was no healthy way to spend holidays in the past. We are looking forward to this year being different,” they said.

The plan is to do much more than just sitting around the house watching TV and eating food.   

They are planning to take long walks. Also through a contact Jenny has in the community, she was able to for one day arrange a free pass for her and her three friends to go to a fitness centre that has an indoor swimming pool and workout/exercise equipment.

Jenny agrees that the money you receive on welfare is not enough to live on, but that life on welfare can get better regardless of what little you have.

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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