New Brunswick

Moncton men plan cross-Canada tour to help homeless

Two men recovering from addiction at Moncton's Harvest House homeless shelter are planning a cross-country tour to help people living on the street.

David Mitchell and André Foulem's project, Reach the Brokenhearted, will take them to shelters across Canada

André Foulem and David Mitchell will be travelling across Canada and helping people who are living on the street. (YouTube)

Two men recovering from addiction at Moncton's Harvest House homeless shelter are planning a cross-country tour to help people living on the street.

David Mitchell and André Foulem's project is called Reach the Brokenhearted.

They plan to drive across Canada, staying in shelters along the way where they will volunteer from early June until fall. 

They are using a crowdfunding campaign to pay for their basic needs, such as food and gas.

They also plan on leaving the shelters to speak with homeless people on the street in many communities, as well as in larger centres, such as Toronto.

"We're going to go right into the worst parts of the city and we're going to set up a barbecue and we're going to play music and we're going to minister to people that way," Mitchell said.

"We're also going to have a list of some of the organizations in the area that they can go to to get help."

Stories will be posted online

Reach the Brokenhearted has active accounts on several social media platforms including Twitter, YouTube and SoundCloud in order to share the stories of the homeless people Mitchell and Foulem meet.

Foulem has not faced homelessness, but came close to it because of his struggle with alcohol and drug addictions.

Mitchell and Foulem plan to talk to homeless people across the country to encourage them to reach out to their families. (CBC)
"The first thing homeless people need is love. They need to be acknowledged," Foulem said.

"They matter and they have something to say, a story of their own."

He said they will have an ongoing relationship with the people they meet.

"We're going to get all their names and we're going to keep in touch with them on Facebook and social media as well to let them know this is not just a one-time thing," Foulem said.

"They can keep in touch with us with their progress and stuff.  We want to podcast all around Canada that change is possible and it's real."

According to Mitchell, the main goal of the project is to inspire the homeless to reach out to their families.

"I know when I was out there I felt like I did so many things wrong that my family didn't want to hear from me anymore," he said.

"But that wasn't true, they just wanted me to change some things that I was doing."

Both Mitchell and Foulem stressed that their newfound Christian faith, along with feeling valued, were key aspects of their recovery.

Mitchell remembers feeling invisible when he was homeless.

"We all kind of just congregated together as a street family. There was a definite contrast between us and them," he said.

"I knew I wasn't as good as the other people and I started to live from that mindset."

Addictions led to homelessness

Mitchell describes his life before homelessness as "normal."

He went to high school and college and was a city worker in London, Ont.

Five years ago, he became addicted to painkillers, which eventually led to a crystal meth habit.

He awoke on the doorstep of Harvest House after a drug-induced blackout.

He now works at the Harvest House and has been sober for almost a year.

A joint benefit concert for Reach the Brokenhearted, as well as Harvest House's women's rehab centre project, will be held on May 20 at the Dieppe Cultural Centre.

now