Matthew Ryan Smith
paul mansfield photography via Getty Images
We didn't want charity, especially when we needed it the most. Yet it was the blind kindness of strangers that made the toughest of times a little less daunting. A full belly was one of our first steps towards a fuller life. What was once a source of shame for my family is now an important part of our story.
In May 2015, the French government did something incredible: the National Assembly unanimously passed a law forcing large supermarkets to donate unsold food to charities. That's how the #WhatAWaste campaign -- a grassroots effort to pressure Canada's political leaders to follow France's example -- was born.
For much of my youth, I lived outdoors. I figured that's the price you pay for chasing your own dream instead of someone else's. Lord knows, I'd rather write than pee indoors. Nowadays, it's called being homeless but back then it was living outside and was a perfectly respectable way to make time for doing what you loved to do.