Jason McComb has been pushing his buggy down the highway since April 2014. While he may be mistaken as homeless, McComb’s not asking for spare change, he’s asking for societal change.
McComb is walking across the country to raise homelessness awareness as part of his Homeless Happens campaign. The St. Thomas, Ont. native has been zigzagging through the provinces from east to west, visiting as many communities as possible along the way. Once he makes it to the Pacific Ocean he’s going to wait out the British Columbia winter before bicycling back to Ontario.
“The needless suffering, to me it’s got to stop,” he said. “Victimizing people that are victims, hurting people that are hurting. Why? Because they’re hurting. There’s a lot of irony in that. It’s disgusting.”
McComb, who has been homeless himself on-and-off for over two decades, says his message is being heard. He says one supporter sent him an email saying “If you can walk across Canada I can walk downtown three times a week and help out at a food bank.” Some drivers slow down to shake his hand and one man even offered to walk alongside him for the remainder of the journey.
“Not in my wildest dreams and tenfold did I think I was going to do this well.” he said.
“But I said if I reached one person and make a difference in one person - hopefully that person carries it on - but I’ll have accomplished what I set out to do. And that was eons ago, that’s what it feels like anyways.”
See “Homelessness,” Page 11
McComb says the prairie portion of his walk has been difficult. The seemingly endless highway disappearing into the horizon coupled with the lack of curves in the road or noticeable landmarks can make him progress feel slow.
During his travels he’s had the wheels fall off his buggy and he has broken his foot. He’s also been attacked in insulted. But despite these trials and complications he is determined to continue his march.
“I just want people to realize that we’re all worthy. Everybody’s worthy of a place in society and absolutely nobody - I don’t care who you are or what you do - nobody’s entitled to anything and homeless can happen to anyone. It can happen to anybody at any time for any reason and you don’t have to already be borderline poor,” McComb said.
“Sometimes it’s a need for food. Sometimes it’s a need for somebody. But it’s a need for social programs, it’s a need for housing and it’s a need for acceptance into a society (where) we should all be accepting each other anyway.”