Use promo code SAFESHELTER to get a 15% discount on Inclusive Love merchandise. Proceeds will go toward Eva’s Giving Tuesday campaign to help youth experiencing homelessness!

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Inclusive Love is an amazing supporter of youth at Eva’s.

Founder Laura Hesp is joining in and helping us raise $15,000 for 15 youth on Giving Tuesday! Tomorrow she will be joining us for a special Giving Tuesday Facebook Live Event at 12:30! Tune in at Eva’s Facebook Page.

We asked Laura to share why she chooses to support Eva’s.

Laura and Jocelyn standing outside at Dunas Square holding a sign that reads "You can opt-out of this. You can't opt-out of homelessness."

In March of 2016 I lost my father. He was an average man deeply suffering from personal demons. He didn’t have the support that is so crucial in recovery from addictions and homelessness to a peaceful, functioning life.

Watching the decline of my father’s life was eye opening, but what woke me up even more was how society treated him in his death. After he passed I became hyper-sensitized to the people in our community that are suffering from food and housing insecurities. I was deeply moved to make a personal impact. This prompted the starting of Inclusive Love, a grassroots social enterprise. Inclusive Love aims to de-stigmatize and humanize homelessness while also fundraising to make a real impact in the community.

In February of 2017, I was introduced to Eva’s in a way that I think surprised both the community at Eva’s and myself. A few people in Toronto created and started selling a “clothing line” by exploiting our city’s most vulnerable community, those experiencing homelessness. The designs were offensive, stigmatizing and affected the people of our city very deeply. On top of this, they falsely claimed to be supporting Eva’s Initiatives.

Toronto is such a compassionate, diverse, generous and caring city. Many of us took personal offense to someone attempting to take advantage of our community for profit. Initially, and rightfully, our community’s response was from a place of hurt and anger. I wanted to turn to citizens of Toronto and ask them to help Eva’s achieve a positive “win” from this situation.

In this social climate it feels a lot easier to submit to the feelings of hurt and betrayal and exude negativity. What takes even more bravery, more strength, and more compassion? Choosing love. Redirecting the message. Inspiring and herding our community together to heal, to give back, and not to let negativity win. Short-term, I’m sure that raising our voices in anger would propel some in our city to give back, but spreading love is a heck of a lot more contagious and sustainable than a quick fix.

What started as a reactive partnership of recovery has blossomed into an amazing, supportive and interactive relationship with Eva’s. From day one I had the honour of communicating with Pamela and Jocelyn (Eva’s staff) who encouraged and supported my ideas of fundraising including Free Hugs events, raising awareness and being able to come see the physical space.

Walking into Eva’s Phoenix was emotionally overwhelming in the most positive way. Seeing the place that Inclusive Love has been working so hard to support and get noticed was a true gift.

Eva’s is doing things differently. Not only are they supporting emergency, short and long-term efforts and opening their doors to the entire spectrum of youth in our community, they are also connected with the business community in an almost unprecedented way.

Just taking a brief look at any of Eva’s social media channels you can see that their efforts are tireless. They foster dozens of unique, relevant and impactful partnerships and are always at the forefront of what is happening in our city.

Visiting Eva’s and meeting a lot of the people I had been communicating with really solidified my love for this organization. Just spending a few minutes with the staff really leaves absolutely no questions about the intent and genuine love they have for what they do. In a world where compassion and empathy take more work than submitting to our circumstances, Eva’s makes it easy.

Laura Hesp
Inclusive Love
Love Child Social House

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