Winnipeg mom who lived in car is happy in new home

As CBC Manitoba hosts Harvesting Hope, a day-long radiothon for Winnipeg Harvest, a mother who had to live in her car last Christmas is starting to turn her life around.

CBC Manitoba hosts Harvesting Hope radiothon all day today

Shelley Sauve shows off the refrigerator in her apartment. The mother of two didn't have a fridge, or any other appliances, when she was forced to live in her car last Christmas. (Janice Moeller/CBC)

As CBC Manitoba hosts Harvesting Hope, a day-long radiothon for Winnipeg Harvest, a mother who had to live in her car last Christmas is starting to turn her life around.

Shelley Sauve has been struggling to make ends meet, without having to go on social assistance, since she was injured at work.

Harvesting Hope

Check out our Harvesting Hope website to donate online to Winnipeg Harvest, or to find out how to donate by phone.

A volunteer and occasional client at Winnipeg Harvest, Sauve told CBC Radio during last year's Harvesting Hope that she lost her apartment that summer after her rent went up as her worker's compensation coverage expired.

Over the holidays last year, she arranged for her two sons to stay with friends while she lived temporarily in her car.

One year later, Sauve is renting a tiny apartment and working at a school.

"Hey, we got a place!" she exclaimed during a recent interview and tour of her home.

Sauve said having a place to live has made a huge difference for her two boys.

"We're more relaxed. We're not really terrified that somebody's going to find out that we don't have a place to live and the kids will get taken," she said.

"We're more stable. The kids are more relaxed. They know where their next meal is coming from. They know where they're sleeping tonight."

Couldn't afford a coat

Sauve is currently tightening her budget and looking for a second job to help pay for her children's music and dance lessons.

"My current job is full-time, but it's only five hours a day, five days a week, when there is school," she said.

"It barely covers the rent, let alone anything else."

Sauve said she couldn't even afford a winter coat for her 11-year-old son, and for weeks he wore layers of sweaters, hoping no one would notice.

She said she was forced to go to her son's school and ask for help in getting him a coat.

"I work at that school, so it's really hard to go to your co-workers and say, 'You know, we have no money … and I can't buy my kid a coat,'" she said.

Sauve's son now has a coat from the Coats for Kids program, as well as some warm boots.

Donate to Harvesting Hope

Harvesting Hope is a CBC Manitoba holiday tradition that brings Manitobans together to raise money for Winnipeg Harvest, the province's largest food bank.

People are encouraged to donate by going to Harvesting Hope's website.

This year, CBC Manitoba and Winnipeg Harvest are also asking for donations of infant formula.

Each month, the food bank provides emergency baby formula to over 1,600 babies under the age of one. Despite generous food donations, there is never enough formula to meet the demand.


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