You might be familiar with (or at least recognize) Heidi Diplock. We have shared her story of homeless and addiction several times over the years, but chances are, you’ve never seen her quite like this.
We recently visited Heidi and her partner, Travis, at the home they’ve rented for more than a year. We toured her garden, got an update on her job at the Royal Jubilee Hospital, learned about a recent trip the pair took to Haida Gwaii and watched her face light up when she talked about giving back to the places and people who have helped her along the way.
Now clean for almost two years, Heidi credits her support system, especially Travis, and Cool Aid housing for the life she has. She believes that talking about her journey and sharing food is an important part of her path.
“We both grew up in foster care and often didn’t have access to food or enough to eat,” Heidi said. “And then spending 20 years on the streets, hunger was always an issue,” she recalled. But she also remembers how important a hot meal was to her overall health and sense of being cared for.
“I truly believe that if people eat, they will feel good about themselves and will be less likely to use drugs or drink,” she said. “A hot meal lets you relax and rest. That break is important when you’re constantly stressed and living on the streets.”
Since coming together almost two years ago, the couple has donated approximately 700 pounds of food to various charities including Cool Aid’s Rock Bay Landing shelter. They also hand out hampers full of food to single moms at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and, at the request of her doctor, Heidi has spoken to young people about homelessness and addiction.
And she doesn’t plan to stop there. Along with Travis, she plans to donate 100 bags of groceries to people in need this Christmas. “If you eat, you feel full and secure.,” she said. “I’m happy to be able to provide that feeling to someone else.” A trained chef, Heidi is also working on a cookbook that she hopes to finish by spring 2022.
The transformation from someone who spent $1,000 a week on drugs to someone who gives away thousands of dollars of food every year, is not lost on Heidi. “All of this in four years,” she said. “And I wouldn’t have any of it without the support I’ve had, and if I still had drugs in my life.”