The eyes that met mine were different from what I was accustomed to.
I was not staring into a set of eyes that reflected the prospect and opportunity of the city I was so proud to call home. They were off in a subtle, disheartened way that reflected a bleak reality and future of despair; in a way that could only ever be understood by looking the man set out before me, clothes tattered and hands held open, in the eye with distinct intention.
I looked away.
That was the most dangerous thing I could do.
What compelled me to do it? Perhaps it was the ignorant disgust I had for the homeless—the same disgust I was taught by society. Somehow, the amount of zeroes we had in our checking accounts suddenly became an appropriate metric from which we were assigned our worth as human beings. This idea that the homeless were somehow “lesser” than I was, that they were degenerates or “bums”, had creeped up upon one of the most socially progressive and inclusive cities in the world until one day it had become the norm.
Nobody seemed to notice.
And so began this project; born not out of convenience, but of urgent duty by citizens who were raised with the values that made Canada, Canada. The Hot Potato Initiative is a youth-led movement to eliminate the stigma around those who live on the streets and inspire citizens to take action in alleviating the homelessness crisis.
I hold an adamant conviction that we will see a day when the homeless are no longer the forgotten citizens of our community, and this toxic stigma is put to rest. The adamant conviction that we will see a day when our fellow citizens actively alleviate injustices and relentlessly inspire change. It is with this very same adamant conviction that I hope you will help us bring this day to fruition.
— Ivan Chiang, Founder of The Hot Potato Initiative
We bake & deliver potatoes to homeless citizens to offer short-term hunger alleviation.
We foster empathy among Canadians by eliminating the stigma around homelessness.
We campaign to inspire everyday Canadians to take action & actively demand change.