GUELPH POLITICAST #298 – What About Your Friends?

There are a lot of groups and organizations in Guelph that are dedicated to helping the poor, the homeless and the disenfranchised, but there are maybe only one or two groups that are doing that work without the formal or financial backing of governments, non-profits or institutions. One of them is Your Downtown Guelph Friends, and they’re now crowdfunding for assistance, so what makes this group of young people so dedicated?

Your Downtown Guelph Friends helps supply meals to people in need downtown, it helps get them essentials like socks or toothbrushes, it helps raise awareness about the needs of people struggling with economic disparity in Guelph, and. perhaps most importantly, they offer friendship. Your Downtown Guelph Friends is not just a name, it’s a state of being. But it’s also worth noting that Your Downtown Guelph Friends is youth driven.

Kate Nixon, who is the spokesperson and one of the founders of YDGF, was already an experienced high school activist when she helped start the group. She teamed up with other like-minded young people and started giving out sandwiches to people in need on days of the week when the other formal aid agencies downtown weren’t providing a meal. YDGF quickly established itself as not just a helping hand for people in Guelph living in poverty, but an advocate for them too. So what’s driving Nixon and her fellow friends?

Nixon and her colleague Jamie Gibson join us this week to talk about the origins of Your Downtown Guelph Friends, all the things they do, and how they’re different from the more formal agencies and non-profits that help people downtown. They also talk about their efforts to destigmatize the people they’re assisting, and how stigma can lead to criminalization. Also they discuss how the pandemic has changed issues around poverty, and how they’re trying to answer the increase in need through crowdfunding.

So let’s talk about your friends, downtown, on this week’s Guelph Politicast!

To learn more about Your Downtown Guelph Friends, to follow their efforts, or to connect with them about volunteering and donation opportunities, you can look them up on Facebook, and on Instagram. You can also donate to their Patreon.

The host for the Guelph Politicast is Podbean. Find more episodes of the Politicast here, or download them on your favourite podcast app at Apple, Stitcher, Google, and Spotify.

Also, when you subscribe to the Guelph Politicast channel and you will also get an episode of Open Sources Guelph every Monday, and an episode of End Credits every Friday.

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