To say Patrick Colley is grateful for the help he receives from Project SHARE is an understatement. “PJ” as he instructed me to call him, must have thanked me at least 20 times in the hour I spent hearing his story of the impact Project SHARE has had on his life.
PJ came to Niagara in 1994, after being raised in Burlington. He lives with cerebral palsy, and was diagnosed two years ago with scoliosis. PJ suffers from seizures, a side effect of cerebral palsy, along with other physical limitations. While these conditions may affect his physical body, they don’t affect the spirit of this constantly smiling, optimistic young man.
PJ knew about Project SHARE as he had been involved in church food drives in the past. When he moved out of his parents’ home in 2011 into his own place, he couldn’t stretch his Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) income enough to cover his expenses and came to Project SHARE for emergency food. “My parents taught me early on there is no shame asking for help. When you live with a disability, you’re going to need help. You have to put your pride aside.” explained PJ, who buys what groceries he can in the beginning of the month, and relies on Project SHARE when they’ve run out. “I know I can come more often for the perishable items” he explained, “but I only want to use what I really need”.
For PJ “Project SHARE is a wonderful organization. I am extremely thankful for the help I receive, and am in awe of the donations from the community. The variety of food is fantastic”.
Project SHARE provides emergency food to an average of 100 people each day, and distributes 50,000 lbs of emergency food each month. In order to access Project SHARE’s emergency food program, you must be a resident of Niagara Falls living below the poverty line as defined by Statistics Canada.