Page 17 - Presbyterian Connection
P. 17
FALL 2021
Choosing to Thrive
  Terry working in the Raw Carrot kitch- en in Paris, Ont.
Story compiled by Elizabeth O’Brian
“In their lives, some individuals have been mocked because of their ‘dis- Abilities,’ or made to feel they aren’t good enough, smart enough, or have nothing to offer. (Because of the pan- demic and their continued work at the Raw Carrot) they were told that they are essential. Can you imagine what that message can do for someone?” —Jennifer Klassen,
MCCO Raw Carrot, Kitchener
Even though Canada has so much wealth, there are still too many peo- ple living on the margins. There are people who are functionally illiterate,
By Joan C. Cho, Editor,
The Presbyterian Message
“Neither snow nor rain nor heat...” begins the standard for faithful mail service. Members of the Atlantic Mission Society can now add “... nor pandemic...” as they somehow, amidst restrictions, found ways to deliver copies of The Presbyterian Message during the past difficult months. We are blessed that our
went to see a psychiatrist. I was initially diagnosed with depression. Unfortunately, the anti-depressants I was prescribed started changing my thinking patterns. I started getting suicidal, I was sad all the time and I lost interest in everything.
“I attempted to take my life and was unconscious for three days on a respirator; thank God it didn’t work out! I was in a psychiatric hospital for eight months and my family fell apar t.
“When I was released, and still un- able to work, I was able to get onto ODSP so that I could afford to live. On the road to recovery, properly di- agnosed with bipolar disorder, and on the correct medication, I started to think about my next steps. Howev- er, I knew I couldn’t handle full-time work in any sort of stressful work environment.
“Then I found the Raw Carrot.
“Living on ODSP is very tight. I receive about $1,200 per month and
rent in my community is $600 to $900 per month. After paying rent, there is very little money left. With my money from the Raw Carrot, I can buy better groceries and eat healthier foods than I could previously afford. I can get fresh fruits and vegetables. I couldn’t do this with just my ODSP cheque.
“I work with terrific people. They are kind and helpful. Right from day one, I felt welcome and encour- aged...and able to succeed.
“My work at the Raw Carrot gives me something to do during the week to get out of the house and make some extra money. It helps me men- tally and physically to be more alert and more organized.
“When you don’t have anything to do because you don’t have anything in your life, then you stop getting up early and you stop doing the things that matter in life. It’s a vicious cycle that is hard to break. Now, I get out of the house two to three days per week
to go to work at the Raw Carrot. I’m needed there.
“I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to do a job in a traditional workplace, but my work at the Raw Carrot has given me a steppingstone to the next stage of my journey.”
others who have learning challenges, some who grew up in families of abuse or neglect and some who live with physical limitations or mental illness. But we all have something in common: the desire to live a pur- poseful life.
In addition to the challenges of meeting their basic needs, those who face barriers to employment suffer from social exclusion, poverty and a harm to dignity that accompanies the lack of participation in the paid work- force and community life.
That’s why the Raw Carrot came into existence—to provide meaning- ful employment and livelihood se- curity to individuals on social assis- tance who want to, and CAN, work.
The Raw Carrot envisions a world where everyone is meaningfully em- ployed and able to meet their basic needs. We believe that a sustainable “Hand Up” is way more awesome than a hand-out!
The Raw Carrot hires individuals on the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) to cook and pack- age handcrafted gourmet soup that is sold in farmers markets and retail lo- cations in the local community. Sales of the healthy soup fund the salaries of those working at the Raw Carrot.
Terry’s Story
“I had a normal life—work, family, kids—until suddenly things changed. I started not feeling well, and I was tired all the time. I was unable to work. I reached out for help and
Raw Carrot staff working during COVID-19 at Innerkip Presbyterian Church in Innerkip, Ont.
  The Raw Carrot is supported in part by a bequest from The Presbyterian Church in Canada and through gifts to Presbyterians Sharing.
  The Message Carries On
 magazine is printed by a company whose owner, as a mission-minded Presbyterian, ensured that all dead- lines were met.
When the first auxiliaries were ready to meet again—with masks, distancing and no lunch—The Mes- sage with its devotionals, prayer sug- gestions and mission studies was there, too. Where auxiliaries were cautious about gathering, The Mes- sage secretaries delivered it to mem- bers in their homes. It was a reminder to us of the AMS purpose to support the mission work of our church “with prayer, study and service.”
In the past, the idea of circulating The Message electronically had been discussed, and during the pandemic it seemed that the time had come to
try it. The subscription form asks for email addresses where available and now we could make use of them. From the Editor’s computer to that of the Circulation Manager and on to Message secretaries and subscrib- ers, the issues of The Message went out through most of 2020.
As a result of those first efforts in delivering The Message by email, the AMS Executive decided to add one more option for subscribers, along with that of single or group sub- scriptions. For the same price as a group subscription, those who wish to reduce paper consumption and/ or mailing costs are now reading The Message on their computer screens.
As well as news of and for AMS auxiliaries, The Presbyterian Mes-
sage carries information of interest to all Presbyterians. Recent articles include the work of PWS&D and Presbyterians Sharing, revisiting pioneer mission stories in Korea and the New Hebrides and “How Presby- terians Choose the General Assem- bly Moderator,” written by Terri-Lee Hamilton, General Assembly Senior Administrator.
The Message mission study for 2021–2022 will centre on Indigenous peoples. In the August/September is- sue, the Statement Regarding Resi- dential Schools by the Moderators of the 2019 and 2021 General As- semblies was reprinted. The Rev. Ian Ross-McDonald, General Secretary, also wrote of ways in which Presby- terians can be involved in this issue
and make a difference. Through the coming months, those suggestions will be explored in more detail.
While most subscribers are in the Atlantic region, we are pleased to know that there are Presbyterians across Canada who get The Mes- sage. We encourage more! For only $20, you can have The Presbyterian Message mailed to your home nine times a year, or for $15 have it deliv- ered to your email address. And yes, if you wish, you can pay by e-transfer to
For more information or to sub- scribe, go to or con- tact Kathy McKay, Message Circula- tion Manager, 55 Pine Bud Avenue, St. John’s, NL A1B 1M8, 709-579-0721,

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