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Good Samaritan: Mike Shaw
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By Mike Toth

Luke 14: 22-24: And the slave said, ‘Master, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ And the master said to the slave, ‘Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste of my dinner.’”

Always dressed in black so that people become familiar with him, you could be excused for mistaking Mike Shaw at a distance for a much younger version of Roy Orbison. While Orbison’s voice was the most angelic thing about him Shaw has been an angel in disguise to many in need in the London area for a long time.

Shaw grew up in a nominally Christian home, but considers himself to have been an “odd duck,’ walking to church on his own from time to time as a youth. Appropriate to his life time call the first bible story he remembers in Sunday school was the Good Samaritan.

Shaw has always been attracted to the homeless in the communities in which he lived, and they felt drawn to him. One time, after leaving a kickboxing event in Toronto he and five friends were walking down the street and he told one of them that the homeless man they were approaching would come up to Shaw. Sure enough, the man passed by the rest of the group to engage Shaw.

Shaw’s method of engaging with those in need is quite simple. When he has the time and finances Shaw drives around the alleys, behind buildings, in the parks, and anywhere else he can think of that might provide shelter for someone with nowhere to go. His targets are pretty specific.

“I find there are three types of people out there,” says Shaw. “The chronic (homeless) who are not looking to change, the mentally ill, and those who can’t afford rent. They are the ones who aren’t institutionalized and need a bit of help to get back on track. Maybe they have gone through a breakup or don’t know the system. I try to send them to where help is.”

Shaw carries around Tim Horton cards so people can get something to eat, helps them to navigate the welfare system, and has even bought clothes for people going on job interviews. While he may not be familiar to many Christians in London, his work has not gone unnoticed as his was a recipient of the Queens Diamond Jubilee Award in 2011.

Another outreach are the back packs he does at Christmas time. Shaw and his team fill back packs with many of the basic necessities people are in need of when they are sleeping on the street. He prays about how many he is to do and fills the number of back packs he feels the Lord leading him to do. One year he felt lead to do fifty back packs but only gave out 49. As you probably already guessed, as they were headed home they ran into a young woman in need and were able to get that last back pack into a deserving set of hands.

Having been involved with the poor for decades he has several ideas worth considering for those who want to make London a better community:
  1. Churches use some of the mission and entertainment budgets to buy and manage three story walk-ups. This could provide low income housing both for those in need in the church community and outside of it.
  2. Ontario Works change the welfare system to a two tiered one. The idea is that some of the “welfare” budget be set aside to help low income individuals and families retain their housing instead of waiting to react when they become homeless.
  3. An association of churches that could sponsor those in need to move to new cities to escape from the poverty and struggles of their own neighbourhoods.

“People with money and authority need to take a chance on the poor. Join a ministry team, visit the sick in a hospital or nursing home. Show you care and God will help.”

You can contact Mike to donate or volunteer with him at