Sudbury’s Michael Wiwczor knows what it’s like to be down and out.

“I was a drug addict when I was younger, and I went down the wrong path. I realized a lot of people who went down this path were in pain like me,” he said.

Wiwczor’s difficult past was one of the reasons he spent his Monday afternoon standing at the corner of Durham and Elm Streets in downtown Sudbury with a sign that said “Share Freely.” On the table was a Tupperware container of hummus, a jug of tea, and lettuce. Free socks sat in a green box at his feet.

'It’s not just for the homeless and needy, it’s for everyone. … It’s about smiling and sharing' - Michael Wiwczor

“I was seeing some people downtown last week, and their feet weren’t looking so good,” Wiwczor said. “So I decided to buy some socks and try and give people some warm feet for the fall.”  

The table isn’t Wiwczor’s first experience with acts of kindness. When he lived in Vancouver he would sometimes make sandwiches and carry around a sign that said “take it if you need it, leave it if you have it.”

Michael Wiwczor table

Some of the goodies Michael Wiwczor was giving away in downtown Sudbury on Monday afternoon. (Marina von Stackelberg/CBC)

Helping out in the community is a bit of a family affair, too. Wiwczor is a single father whose young son was at daycare on Monday afternoon. Even if he wasn’t there Monday, the Sudbury man said his son was part of the motivation for his actions.

“He was so excited that I was going downtown to share food with people,” Wiwczor said. “I told him it’s not just for the homeless and needy, it’s for everyone. … it’s about smiling and sharing, and when I told that to my son, he was happy.”

A new routine

While this was Wiwczor’s first week with his “Share Freely” booth, he said he hopes to return to the spot once a week when he has free time.

He also wants to eventually bring people on nature walks to show them how to forage for food and grow it themselves.

In the meantime, Wiwczor said this table will be his home base. On the first day, he served more than half a dozen people, and talked to many more who were just curious about why he was doing this.

“I just want to be a public person doing this to do it, to love it, and smile and enjoy,” Wiwczor said. “If some people see that they can do it for themselves without an organization, and then they do it, that would be great.”