Scarborough resident Maureen Henry has worked for the Canadian Red Cross for 12 years and during her time at the Scarborough Drop-In Centre, she has worked tirelessly to help those in the community she loves.
“I am not a counsellor but I am passionate about helping people,” Henry said.
Since she emigrated to Canada 15 years ago from Trinidad and Tobago, Henry has called Scarborough home. She says being able to give back to her community that she lives in has been a rewarding experience.
“The people in Scarborough are warm and we look out for each other.”
The Red Cross Drop-In Centre is located in the basement of the Church of the Epiphany, 700 Kennedy Rd., and services the less fortunate from across Scarborough.
“Homelessness is not just a downtown issue,” program coordinator Terry Harris said. “There is homelessness in Scarborough too. It is just not as visible.” Many can be considered the working homeless, sometimes only having enough pay for the rent.
At age 61, Henry holds her own, keeping up with the three workers and six volunteers who make up the staff operating the centre Monday to Friday, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The centre serves a variety of people of all ages seeking a meal, clothing or a place to stay, but mainly looking for someone who cares, Henry said.
“She is like a mom to many of the people who come in here,” Harris said. “Especially when working with the youth.
“We are all like a big family,”
After getting back on their feet, many people move having found a job or an affordable place to stay. Some even move out of the community, but “they always come back and let us know how they are doing,” Henry says.
“I have always been a people person, even back in Trinidad. This is like my calling, and being able to work with my community and seeing them being able to get the help they need gives me a great sense of satisfaction.”