Monday, October 08, 2012

before the rain begins to fall

Things are looking better for people who live in the Tri-Cities area (Port Moody, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam). For people who have no home, the annual cold wet weather shelter program has opened up, a month earlier this year than last year. For people who have homes and jobs and food on the table, the opportunity to really share and help is so readily available. Life is really wonderful.

This year, our shelter is called "The Bridge Shelter," not because it's on or under a bridge, but because it has changed shape a bit to bridge the two years between our old shelter (which rotated from church to church from November to March) and the new one which will have a permanent address at 3030 Gordon Street in Coquitlam. The Bridge Shelter is open now at Northside Church in Port Coquitlam. The plan is to run it at that location for this winter and next, then to move to a permanent location at 3030 Gordon Street in Coquitlam in 2014.

So here's where it becomes apparent that it's things are really looking better for people who live in the Tri-Cities. Here are just a few examples:

  • If you know someone who is homeless, tell them about the shelter. It's lower barrier this year than it has been in the past. There's secure parking for guests' carts and walk-up guests are welcome. Inside there's a safe, warm place to sleep, free clothing and toiletries, a home-cooked supper, hot breakfast, and a bag lunch. Plus, there are workers from Hope For Freedom Society who can help with referrals to housing and addiction  and health services, if that's what you want.
  • If you want to help, you can volunteer to work a shift at the shelter. Morning volunteers make breakfast and eat with the guests, then put the beds away after they leave. Evening volunteers set up the beds, share supper with the guests and help with clothing and toiletries.
  • If you want to help, but don't want to work on site at the shelter, you can donate. Right now, the shelter needs new or gently used men's clothing (everything from socks to jeans to winter coats), small toiletries, feminine hygiene supplies, and groceries. Work boots are especially welcome, even used, with some life still in them.
  • Another way to help: sign up to cook supper for the guests for one night. (This is a good family or friends and neighbours project.) You just need to cook it and bring it in by about 9pm. The volunteers on site will serve it and do the dishes. You can stay if you like. It will change how you see things. I promise.
  • For information about all of the options listed above, call Hope For Freedom at 604-729-4972
  • Finally, you can learn more about the permanent shelter planned for 3030 Gordon Street in Coquitlam. There will be an open house at the Evergreen Cultural Centre, 1205 Pinetree Way in Coquitlam on Tuesday, October 16, 5-8pm. You can meet the people from Raincity Housing (the society that is building and will be operating the permanent shelter) and have input to the plans. Info about the open house: Sean Spear at 604.215.3048
We are all neighbours here. The Tri-Cities shelter program has had some awesome success stories in its 5 years of operation. It's a pretty special program in the way it enlists hands-on help from people in the neighbourhood to be hosts. It has been a life-changing experience for me to be involved. I understand so much more than I did before I began, and I have a lot more courage to step up and offer help when I see someone who looks like they need it. I also know that I have been helped by being allowed to help. You can too.

question: what do you know about this?

mompoet - please come find out more - you will be glad

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