George Stroumboulopoulos believes in "we"

George Stroumboulopoulos, photo: Wendy Dallian

This week, I had the great pleasure of speaking with an amazing and generous Canadian television personality who volunteered his time to help the Vancouver Food Bank: the CBC's George Stroumboulopoulos.

It was quite inspiring to sit with television's golden boy(friend) and talk about what it meant to him to be part of an event like this.

I listened carefully to what he had to say. I watched as he seemed to sink into a deep part of himself, pulling out layers I never expected. I walked out of the room after the interview with a wonderful feeling of having spent time with someone who is having a uniquely positive impact on the world.

 This guy is powerful, driven, extremely talented, and best of all, he has a heartfelt understanding of the human condition.

WD: What does it mean to you personally to be involved in an event like this?

GS: I love the collective. I love the “we.” It's not uniquely Canadian, but it is uniquely ours in North American to be like this. We're not a country of solo artists, we're a band and I like that about the way we approach other people here.

This country's really going through an odd time and there's a complicated debate about what it is this country's going to be in the next ten, fifteen, twenty, fifty years from now and one of the core values, and we'll see if it stays, that has made this country so interesting to me is that we are about other people.

When you get out here you just see it. You see the whites of the eyes of the people who are already doing this. You can see those who have made their life about something more than just them and their own experiences so you can't not be inspired being around them.

But moreover, you just feel like you... its not even about being inspired to take it away for your own self, it's just about being a part of something: to work with others, and help others, and help yourself, and help with anything you can. I just like being around that.

WD: Is that the biggest kick you get about doing this?

GS: The biggest kick... yah, that and meeting people. It's that old line: everybody has got a story that'll break your heart, right? And everybody's got a story that'll make your day, so why not just be around others.

We're only really valuable when we're working with somebody as opposed to being by ourselves. I think we can all contribute to a community that way, so I just love being around that.

WD: What would you like to see people do in their everyday lives to continue this sort of thing (awareness) going, after the events are over?

GS: That's a tough question to answer because you've got to make sure that people can eat. So if there's a drive, participate, but the larger issue is you've got to get your politicians to start acting responsibly.

Vancouver's actually really good at this but there are other parts of this country that aren't. If you don't properly deal with mental illness in this country, you're going to deal with homelessness on a level that is almost catastrophic. That deals with one angle of hunger.

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