A single mother from Ajax says Kijiji was her last resort.
The woman, who asked to be called “Melanie” to protect her identity, tells CityNews she was so fearful of running out of food for her three daughters, she made a plea on the online classified.
The ad, posted on April 25, 2017, reads as follows:
“URGENT FOOD HELP NEEDED: Going through a very difficult time and cannot afford food for my 3 small children.
It’s been a rough month lost my job and I’ve run out of funds. .looking fur any kind person who would be generous enough to help us during this very hard time. .please no negative responses. .it’s hard enough reaching out for help.thank you”
“I looked to Kijiji. I’ve seen people helping people, and I’ve helped a lady before when I was able to, and I just put it out there. It was probably the most difficult thing I’ve had to do.”
Melanie says she lost her job and her car more than three weeks ago, and is still waiting for employment insurance to be approved. In the meantime, she says the food supply is dwindling for her daughters, ages 6, 5 and 2.
“With two kids in school, you’ve got to have a healthy snack. And of course, eating healthy costs more money, unfortunately. They love their fruits and veggies, so I try to incorporate that as much as possible, but I’m right down to the bare minimum right now.”
While there are more food banks located in suburbs like Ajax, access to them can be difficult. According to the Daily Bread Food Bank, many people who are vulnerable to poverty are often pushed to the suburbs and outer reaches of the city in order to find affordable housing. There are fewer services and food assistance programs in those areas, as well as less walkability and longer commuting times. Melanie says even the $4 bus fare would be too much to give up.
“It would probably take me an hour to walk down, which I don’t have a problem with, it’s just getting back with items that would be difficult.”
The ad has attracted more negative responses than positives ones, according to the Ajax mother.
“One response was ‘if you’re that much in need, and you really need the help go into the dumpster, they throw out a lot of good food. You shouldn’t be above that’.”
She was even more shocked by a man who offered up to $50 for groceries in exchange for sexual favours.
“I realize my burden is not everyone else’s and I’m not asking for that, but you don’t need to have those responses that are so negative and so filthy and disgusting.”
She says she received at least three supportive messages.
“I did have a response from a lady who said she doesn’t have a lot herself, but she would like to be able to help. When she gets paid, she would get things like bread and milk to help us get by.”