Starving for attention

StruggleFood_smallLife with his young, single mom was like walking on eggshells. David had to always be on guard to avoid provoking her temper.

From the time David was 10, his mom berated and belittled him until David felt he couldn’t do anything right. She drummed “you’re bad” into his head so often that he would recite it to himself when she wasn’t there. Her tirades often finished with her usual punishment of denying him dinner, lunch or whatever meal she felt he didn’t deserve.

David arrived at Covenant House thin and pale. Shy and withdrawn, he was barely able to trust that there would be enough food for him at mealtimes.

As heartbreaking as David’s experience was, his is not an uncommon story.

Slowly, David began to open up with the staff and other kids in the house. He would say how grateful he was to be able to fill his plate. He no longer wondered if he would go hungry and when he’d get his next meal. David didn’t know that things could be different until he came to Covenant House. He said that he felt he was accepted and cared for–a weight had been lifted off his shoulders.

Food is so important at Covenant House. When we feed kids, we are offering them physical and emotional nurturing. We keep regular mealtimes so that kids know they can rely on and trust us.

Like most families, staff and youth share meals to catch up on the events of the day. Whenever a youth comes through our doors, day or night, we ask if they’re hungry and we feed them. The food we give our kids shows them we care and can be depended on.

David was soon able to go back to school in the community. Eventually, we found David a place in a group home and he was on his way, full of hope for his future.

6 thoughts on “Starving for attention

  1. I have been familiar with Covenant House for years. I have always had a real soft spot for the homeless…but especially for youth. The kids, are just children and it breaks my heart. I have wanted to be involved for a long time now. Recently separated, I am far from financially secure so donating is something I can only do sometimes. But I want to help more. I want to be involved. Any suggestions?


    Judi Hills

    • Covenant House Toronto

      Thanks so much for your kind note. We are always looking for donations of non-perishable food for our food bank for kids living independently in the community that need a little extra help. Please give us a call if you are coming by.

      Another idea is to host a fundraising party

      Finally, in early December, we have a big coin drive in the subway manned by volunteers. It’s not for awhile, but we really want to make it big this year. The amount of money we raise in that campaign is only limited by the number of volunteers. It’s a really helpful way to raise money and get the word out. If you or friends are interested in the TTC Drive or hosting a fundraiser, please email Kathryn at

      Thanks again for thinking of our kids!

    • me and my freind are doing a project on help the homless and try to make it more public

  2. Hello, I’m 11 years old and I have always wanted to help change peoples lives. My mother lived in the Covenant House until she was 8 months pregnant with my brother. I talked to my mom and teacher about fundraising and helping to support you and the youth. I’m lucky enough to have a happy home and I want others to feel the same. My mom said I should try and get in contact with you guys, is there anyway I could do this?

  3. I have a couple of questions: I’m looking for a place that I can donate some really nice, hip, hardly worn clothes, shoes, boots, and coats to – they are mostly size 14 to 18, and the footware – sizes 7 1/2 to 9 1/2. I don’t want to give them to Value Village or any other place that sells the stuff they receive – and at outrageous prices at that. I also have slightly used hair products, makeup, and nail polish. Please let me know what you’d accept, and where to drop it off.
    Also, I used to volunteer in Victoria BC teaching art to incarcerated youth – I was wondering if you could use my services. I’m a 65 year old hippy chick – with lots of stories and life experience – and kids love me. Let me know!
    Hoping to hear from you soon
    Louise Berry

    • Covenant House Toronto

      Hi Louise, We’re so sorry for the late reply. We did miss this comment. Unfortunately, we’re unable to process and store used items. Goodwill is an excellent organization that is well-equipped to process your items. They resell the items, but they use the funds to serve their clients. Please visit our website for info on volunteering and send us an application with your experience. It sounds very interesting! Again, apologies for the late response and thank you for reaching out.

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