Good Shepherd Ministries remains at the service of the poor and homeless of our City. In response to COVID-19, Good Shepherd Ministries has reduced its meal program to offer bagged lunches from 2 – 4 pm. The organization is taking every precaution to ensure the health and safety of everyone who enters and uses its facilities in adherence to the Public Health Agency of Canada. Contact 416.869.3619 or for more information.

Our Stories

"Good Shepherd helped to keep me alive."

Keith Alexander, 2013

I was raised by loving, hard-working, respectful parents. I had a good education. But both my parents were alcoholics.

My father stopped drinking when I was three, but started again when my mother got cancer when I was nine years old. My mom died that year. My very stable world became very unstable. I spent some time in an abusive foster home. I began smoking cigarettes and marijuana.

After high school, I joined the Navy, where I was introduced to various drugs, none of which I found addictive.

Then when I was about 24, I saw my older brother smoking cocaine, and I urged him to share. When I felt the effects, I realized I had crossed a line.

I left the Navy, went to New York, went to Miami, and finally ended up in Toronto, working as a hairstylist in Yorkville. I became successful. I lived on Bay Street.

Then in 1991, when I was 29, my father and my best friend both died in the same month. I was not equipped to deal with the loss. It really tore at me. I remembered the ease and comfort that came from smoking freebase cocaine. That started my hard-core addiction.

It didn’t take long. Within a year I was homeless. Between 1992 and 2010, I went to treatment 13 times. I was really trying, but I didn’t understand what complete surrender was.

I was introduced to the Good Shepherd first through the meals. Then I used the emergency shelter – I have been an overnight resident on the third floor many, many times. I have been a resident of the DARE Program at least 10 times.

Then in 2010, I was granted yet another moment of clarity. At that point, the hole I had dug in my life was so deep, I thought only aliens could pull me out. I went to the DARE Program from detox. I had an outstanding warrant, and while I was in DARE I faced that warrant. I was arrested.

In that cell, I went down on my knees and I asked God to come into my life. I left with a promise to God that I was going to follow Christ. I came back to Good Shepherd, and I continued the DARE Program.

During the time that I was on the streets, I was arrested hundreds of times. I slept in stairwells, under bridges. I’ve been involved in humiliating acts of degradation – just incomprehensible, pitiful, demoralizing actions. I had become insane and sometimes dangerously antisocial.

As a result of my surrender to God, I have been restored to sanity and become a productive member of society. I am currently a member of the Grant AME (African Methodist Episcopal) Church. I am on the Board of Trustees, and a member of three of the choirs. It gives me really great joy and pleasure and fulfillment. I have a nice little apartment with a cat.

My best friend and I are both survivors of this disease called addiction. I have been given a brand new life.

Good Shepherd Centre basically took care of me. The DARE Program allowed me to pursue my sober journey in a safe, clean, respectful environment. We’re treated better than we deserve by the Good Shepherd.

The Good Shepherd is a clear example of what giving is about. It’s an amazing ministry which is why I volunteer here. I can’t imagine going anywhere else – it’s the one place. Good Shepherd helped to keep me alive.

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