MAJOR NEWS! Shlomo works at a Tim Horton’s downtown, and when the franchise owners of that location caught wind of his fundraiser, they wanted to help – not only do they love Shlomo and consider him one of their best employees, they had no idea about his story before now. They got in touch with all the other Tim Horton’s franchise owners in Ottawa, and as a group they have agreed to MATCH whatever funds Shlomo is able to raise, up to his goal of $10,000!

That means that if you have already made a donation, it has now been doubled by Tim Horton’s! And if you make one now, it will be doubled by Tim Horton’s! As Shlomo is calling it, this is now the #DoubleDouble #PieOurMayor Challenge! Thank you Timmies!

Eric here. For the past fifteen years, I’ve been spending 24 hours outside with Operation Come Home downtown one day a winter to raise awareness for homeless youth, and asking you to help them help those homeless youth with a donation to OCH through my fundraising page. This year, I would ask you not to donate to me, but instead donate to my friend Shlomo.

I first met Shlomo when he was homeless, sleeping in a parking garage the night before 2015’s 24 Hours Of Homelessness event. He stopped by our event the next day, and spoke with us in depth about his struggles with getting help for his mental health and addiction issues. He left us at about 11:00 that night, looking for another quiet, out-of-the-way place to sleep safely that night. And the following night.

Over the past two years, I saw Shlomo much more often. At first, I would go into Operation Come Home and see him in the drop-in, grabbing breakfast in the morning. Then, I’d see him talking with Katie about his addiction issues. Later, I’d meet him while he was working in the school to get his high school diploma. I would go out to the FarmWorks farm, and see him on his hands and knees, pulling weeds in our little plot in order to plant zebra beets, and acquire work experience. Then, for what seemed like quite a long time, I didn’t see him at all.

Shlomo had gone to rehab to sort out his addiction issues. When I saw him again, he was at the drop-in once more, grabbing breakfast. He’d come from his own apartment that morning, and stopped in to OCH on his way to work, at a local coffee shop. Now two years clean and sober, Shlomo has gone back to school, studying business marketing at Algonquin with an eye toward one day doing marketing for a social enterprise or a charity like Operation Come Home.

Now, Shlomo is sleeping outside voluntarily. He’ll be joining us for this year’s 24 Hours of Homelessness with a very specific goal of his own. He wants to raise $10,000 for Operation Come Home. Not to give back, as such, but more to pay it forward. The way he says it, he wants to make sure the next Shlomo who walks through those doors has the same opportunities he had to make something of their life. His goal, and a rather specific challenge, led to this Twitter exchange back in December:

Shlomo is one of the best and hardest working kids I know. He’s very smart, extremely well-spoken, and given the tough circumstances from which he emerged, his unceasing positive attitude never fails to amaze me every time I see him.

And so, I ask for a donation to his campaign – let’s (1), get Mayor Watson to take a pie in the face on the Doc & Woody Show! (2), raise much-needed donations for a powerfully effective and necessary charity that does not receive core funding. And (3) show Shlomo that we support not only him, but the next Shlomo to come along. I encourage you all to read Shlomo’s story and support him here:

Pie Our Mayor

If you want to hear more of Shlomo’s story, and where he is today, I sat down to talk to him for about an hour all about it on Friday:

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Eric's Blog

The Pie Our Mayor challenge for Operation Come Home

Originally Aired: January 7, 2018