There are many factors as to why there is such a social gap between the well off, and the impoverished; it's our fear of stepping outside our comfort zone and taking initiative , it's our lack of education on how one falls into the downward spiral of poverty, and simply being afraid of what we don’t understand or can relate to. Our aims for this project is to merely provide the truth, in hopes that the perspectives of many will change through the creation of human relationships. Mainly, our goal is to educate through first hand experience, rather than a set of facts and statistics. We want to eliminate the stigma, the abstract notion that poverty is a global issue, that our help is insignificant, when in fact poverty happens right in our neighbourhood, and that any support of any size is vital towards the eradication of poverty.
A few years ago, as I was walking along Gastown, I’d noticed how only a single block divided a bustling tourist neighbourhood from one of the most poverty-stricken postal codes in Canada – a block that hosts both a five-star restaurant as well as needle disposal boxes. This unsettling contrast made me question the origins of divides that are often so arbitrary – and what I could do to challenge it. It made me realize I was born into circumstances where I didn’t need to question my right to an education, to have a roof over my head, or my access to basic health care. With this, some friends and I started the nonprofit charity, Ignite the Warmth, to explore how we could begin to eliminate that stigma of homelessness and how students can engage with the issues of poverty that exist in our own neighbourhood. 5 years later, our organization, now a registered charity, has grown and evolved because of the dedicated people, mostly students, who wanted the idea behind this cause to become a reality.