When you walk into Artline Salon, you can see immediately that it is a successful business run by a young and talented entrepreneur – Lina. You’ll see that Lina is confident, creative and hard working. Her joie de vivre is captivating.

You would never guess that Lina was once a recipient of food assistance.

““The food did more than nourish us. It made our family know we were safe and that we belonged.””

Lina was 14 when her family emigrated from Iraq to settle in Canada. She struggled to learn English, learn about their new home’s culture, and how to belong. It is hard for her to look back and fully comprehend what her parents did for her and her four younger siblings. Somehow they found ways to adapt, adjust and to earn a living.

Those first few years were particularly difficult. Lina’s family was starting out with nothing more than a few cases of luggage. Food hampers ensured that Lina and her siblings never went hungry. “The food did more than nourish us,” Lina shared. “It made our family know we were safe and that we belonged.”

Lina went on to say, “No one should be ashamed to access food assistance. It is an important support that helps get your life on track. It helped me and my family after we arrived here.” Every year, food assistance programs help thousands of people in Waterloo Region.

Meeting Lina now, you can see the value of food assistance in our community. Her parents worked hard to give her everything she needed for a successful future. She competes internationally in Hairstyling Competitions, her studio created HairUnited to build community and support local charities, and she is an educator. Lina is truly a champion!