VOLUNTEER for Westside Anglicans Neighbourhood Ministry!
We are currently looking for volunteers for both the Street Outreach Programme and the Mobile Care Unit. Street Outreach Volunteers go out on the streets one Saturday once a month from 9:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. approximately. No car is needed. The Mobile Care Unit volunteers go to St Augustine’s Church in Marpole on a Thursday from 5:00-7:00 p.m. once or twice a month. Learn more at neighbourhoodministry.com and our Facebook page
If the reports below inspire you to learn more or be part of an indoor or outdoor team, please contact Joan Stewart at [email protected]
Request for Donations We are no longer accepting clothing for the Neighbourhood Ministry.
Please help us by donating the following items in the Narthex baskets on Sundays, or in the blue bin on the courtyard east porch on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays 8:00-4:00 and Tuesdays and Wednesdays 8:00-7:00.
Neighbourhood Ministry Outreach Report for Saturday, October 29, 2022
By Mary Lymburner
Steph and I met at St. Philip’s where Suzi and Dorothy provided us with sandwiches (which were made by Mira), oranges, hard boiled eggs, and packets. Suzi also had camping gear, gloves, toques, some other clothing, and the carts all organized for us.
We drove past the 10th and Sasamat corner, but saw no one there. We left a packet and fresh food for B on top of his box on St. Helen’s porch. B was not there. Rev. Liz Hamel saw us and came out to say hello.
At the fence at 4th and Highbury, we found T, B and A. All are housed, and all seemed fine, except I noticed that T’s glasses were quite badly broken. All took food, and A took some extra for his wife. A also took a jacket and hat for his wife, and gloves for both of them.
At 4th and Vine, we found P at his usual spot on the NE corner, selling Megaphones and the Hope in Shadows calendars. He seemed well. He took food and gloves. We continued east on 4th and noted some belongings under the bridge ramp. We parked on 5th and walked over. J was not there, but her mat and sign were in the spot where we usually see her, so we left food there. J’s hammock was still in place, surrounded completely by a couple of tarps. We called out, but did not get an answer, so we left some food.
On the west side of the Granville Loop Park, we noticed a man sitting on a bench with several large garbage bags beside him. We walked over. This was J. I think we have met him before. The bags contained the proceeds of binning. He looked well and warmly dressed. He is homeless and said that his blanket was wet. He was very happy to take a sleeping bag as well as some food.
On the east side of the Granville Loop Park, we noticed a big tent covered with a tarp. We called out. J and S were inside. They had a good mattress but needed a sleeping bag which we provided. They also took food, a toque, and gloves.
As we were running a bit late, we skipped the 7th and Fir corner and went straight to Fir and 10th. At the VSB Park we found R and S. They are homeless. They both took food and hand sanitizers. R took a hat, scarf, and gloves.
We found no one on Broadway by the McDonald’s, nor at the Circle K on Hemlock, nor in the lanes around that block. We walked down Granville to 12th but did not see anyone. On our way back to the car we walked west on 11th. On 11th just west of Granville we found a man sitting with some belongings. He accepted our offer of food. He was not very warmly dressed and was wearing sandals over bulky socks, despite the cold and rain. We gave him food and some warm clothing, gloves, fleece jacket, and waterproof overpants. We also had a large size pair of shoes, likely too big for him, but with the socks he seemed to think they were good. He did not wish to give his name and was a bit incoherent.
At this point, after 12:30, Steph had to leave to get to her class.
From there I went west on Broadway to Wawanesa. Again, J was not there. I also did not see anyone at the Safeway or at Tim Horton’s. I stopped at Shoppers on Dunbar on the way back to St. Philip’s, but no one was there either. I dropped off the carts and other leftover supplies.
Neighbourhood Ministry Street Outing Report for October 1st
By Janice Hope
Joanne and Janice met at 9:30 at St. Philip’s to pick up food, packages, sleeping mats, sleeping bags, socks and toiletries. Many thanks to Heather for preparing the sandwiches and to her husband for delivering them – and to Suzi for preparing all of the packages and additional supplies.
Our first stop was 4th Avenue and Highbury where we met T who seemed to be in good spirits and accepted a package and some food. From there we travelled up 4th and Vine where we found P at his corner in front of Whole Foods. He was his usual cheery self and was happy to receive a package and some food. Across the street in front of Shoppers we spotted M and approached him attempting to engage with him; he said hello but no thanks to talking. Also on the Shoppers’ corner, there was a makeshift campsite with cardboard and other belongings. We left a packet and other food there.
We continued to move east to the Granville Street overpass where we found J. She requested a scarf to keep her neck warm, an additional sleeping mat and sleeping bag to double up with the one she currently has in order to keep during the colder nights. J had been using a compass card which had expired and she was requesting the card be re-loaded for another month. After we had completed our visits. Joanne returned to J with a re-loaded Compass Card, for 1 month in 1 zone, to be paid for from the Ministry's funds. Joanne also brought a sleeping bag with a plastic bag to cover it and a sleeping mat as earlier requested. J was happy to receive these items and was appreciative of Joanne’s extra efforts. J was also stationed under the bridge in a suspended sleeping bag. He was very talkative and happy to receive a package, underwear, hand sanitizer and some food. He requested a small toothbrush, travel size with its own case. We also gave him one of the information cards but explained that the dates listed were not current
We didn’t find anyone at 7th and Fir or the VSB so we continued on to run into A in front of the library. While we were giving him a package and some food he told us that he had been at his current job for several weeks and things were going well.
On our way back to the car we found R, S and S at the VSB. S received some underwear, food and a package; S some food and a package and R took a package and some underwear. R also requested a tarp as he gave his previous one to S to cover his belongings.
Heading west we didn’t find anyone along Broadway at Wawanesa or Safeway. S was at his new location outside the Dollar Store on Broadway at Carnarvon and he was happy to accept a package and pb & j sandwich.
On our way back to St. Philip’s we stopped by St. Helen’s looking for B whom we didn’t find but left a package with his belongings.
Ten connections in total.
Neighbourhood Ministry Street Outreach Report for August 6, 2022
Participants: Janice Hope & Steph Martens Packages prepared by: St. Philip’s
Report by: Steph Martens
Janice and Steph met Suzi at St. Philips at 9:30 am, where we packed sandwiches, eggs, bananas, packages, carts, clothing, and a few gift cards to McDonald’s and Safeway.
We then headed to St. Helen’s, where we met B around the side of the church. We gave him a sandwich, banana and water. He also took a pair of size 12 shoes, some extra socks, a t-shirt and a long sleeved shirt. He seemed well, and this was the most prolonged chat either Janice or Steph had had with B previously.
Then we headed toward the fence at Highbury, where we met T and B. T mentioned it was his birthday on August 7, so we signed his birthday ‘card,’ which looked like an old boogie board. Both took packages and lunches, and seemed well. We headed up 4th and saw P at his usual place, giving him a sandwich and package. Farther on, we saw W in front of Whole Foods and chatted for a minute. He seemed happy conversing. He took a hat, food package, water, and a Safeway gift card. Then we saw M in front of Shoppers Drug Mart, but he didn’t want to engage. We walked a bit farther and saw T and K (who was new to us). K took a package, food, socks, and underwear. She was grateful, and we told her we are out every Saturday around the area. She was trying to get into housing but was having difficulty. T also took a package, but nothing else. Further along 4th, we saw L, who took toiletries, food, a long sleeved shirt and a McDonald’s gift card.
We got back in the cars and headed up 4th, where we saw the girl under the Granville Bridge (name unknown). Steph had brought a backpack for her, but it wasn’t the right kind. She would like a more oversized backpack (like a multi-day backpacking pack). We told her we would get the word out and see if we could find something. She didn’t take anything but seemed friendly. On our way back to the car, a lovely woman approached and asked about our connection with the girl under the bridge. We informed her about the Neighbourhood Ministry and what we do each week.
We headed to Fir, where we met E in his usual spot and gave him a t-shirt, package, and food. Then we found B (new to us) along the back lane behind McDonald’s. We gave him an undershirt, package, socks, a sandwich, egg and a banana.
We headed to Circle K and found A, who took a sandwich and a package. We talked a bit about jobs; he recently lost his because it gave him migraines. While in the parking lot, we met J, who was also new to us. He is currently unhoused, and we had a long conversation about his situation. He said he needed a phone. Is there the possibility of getting J a phone? He said he would be at the Circle K parking lot next Saturday at 12:30-ish. We gave him food and a package.We then headed up Broadway and found Rat Granville and 11th. We gave him a package and lunch, and he mentioned he was looking for a tarp. The WANM had given him one previously, but he gave that to someone who needed it. He took a mat as well. Is it possible to get R a tarp? Next bench to R was M and another man whose name we missed. Lots of chats this Saturday! M talked to Janice quite a bit, and his friend took an undershirt. They both got sandwiches and bananas, and the friend got a package.
Then to Wawanesa where C was sitting, and eventually J came. C got a t-shirt, two pairs of shorts, package, sandwich, extra bananas, underwear; and James took underwear, undershirt, a package, sandwich, egg and banana. C was especially grateful for what we gave him.
Just as we were leaving Wawanesa, a woman named K approached us. She knew of our connection too and she lives in the building across the street from J. She chatted with us about her observations about J’s situation and gave us her phone number. We have provided this to Joan Stewart, who will follow up with her.
At this point it was getting quite late. We drove past Safeway and Tim’s on Broadway but didn’t see anyone. We then split up. Janice headed back to St Philip’s, while Steph went to London Drugs in Kerrisdale to deliver packages to J and J. J said to say ‘hi’ to everyone.
It was quite an eventful Saturday, and we gave away all 16 packages. Lots of connections and opportunities to help.
Neighbourhood Ministry report for July 9th
By Jane Davis
I met up with Suzi and Sophia at St. Philips at around 9:30 on Saturday, July 9. It was a lovely day! Suzi and Sophia had everything ready and we loaded up Suzi's car with wonderful packages (I added five more left over from St. Helen's outing the previous weekend). We had bananas, boiled eggs, sandwiches, extra muffins and banana bread (left over from a previous week), water, shirts, shoes, blanket, mats, underwear and shorts. Thanks to Suzi and Sophia for organizing everything and thanks to the parishioners for their donations.
We headed up to St. Helen's to see B. He was in his usual spot at the side of the building. He was quite chatty and accepted everything that we had to offer! We offered him a mat which he initially said "yes" to but then changed his mind.
We then drove over to 4th and Highbury fence where we found T, B and R. They were chatty and happy to see us. They took everything offered, including underwear and extra socks. R also took a pair of shoes that fit him well. We hiked over to J's car (apparently he has got the car up and running again) and found him relaxing in the rear. He was glad to accept all the food offerings. We reminded them it was Khatsahlano Days on 4th and there might be some good entertainment for them.
As it was Khatsahlano Days, of course, we could not drive up 4th so we tackled the very congested Broadway. We eventually made our way over and down Burrard back to Fourth. From there, we drove around Granville Loop Park and saw that the young woman from the week before was still sleeping under the bridge so we circled around and parked. We walked down to the underpass and found the same. She is still very quiet and does not offer up any information but is very happy to accept food. Sophia gave her a huge chocolate bar that she and her mum had found in the St. Philip's stash! I also gave her a pair of capris.
Next, we travelled over to 7th and Fir and circled around but not seeing anyone we went up to the VSB Park. We loaded up and headed over to find E. He got up, accepted all the food we offered and we chatted for a bit. He was a little quiet but said he might be heading over to the MPA building in a while. We walked over to Granville St. and found L sleeping outside the Starbucks which is presently closed for renos. He generally hangs out in the Commercial Drive area. He took all the food but he declined a shirt which we offered. He did not share much information so we didn't get his full story. There was no one hanging out in the lane that day. We hiked up Granville St. to see if we could find the fellow whom I had previously seen sitting in front of the Telus building on the east side of the street, but he was not there.
We drove over to Wawanesa and found J lying down chatting to one of his neighbours. The neighbour chatted to us for a few minutes asking about the Ministry and which churches were involved. He is Anglican and was interested in finding an Anglican Church in the area. He had previously attended St. Helen's.
We headed up Broadway and found S outside the Shoppers just east of Tim's. We dropped off food, a t-shirt and underwear and he showed us his arm again. It is still pretty sore looking, but he is able to play his guitar now.
We then headed back up to St. Philip's and split up. I was going to head up to Kerrisdale to find J. Suzi had already chatted to him at least once or twice during the past week as she lives very close to the Kerrisdale Community Centre and she told me he might be at the London Drugs at 42nd Avenue. I drove up Dunbar (found no one at the Shoppers there) and up to 43rd and parked. I hiked around the community centre and then over to London Drugs. Sure enough, he was there as was Jason (whom we used to see at Shoppers on Dunbar). They were both happy to see me. Luckily, I had brought two bags of provisions, enough for the two of them, including underwear, extra socks and a t-shirt for J.
Our outing was a little quieter than normal probably because the fellows keep clear of the festivals, but it was a pleasant day and the people we met were generally in good spirits. It is always nice to have Sophia join us on our outings.
Thanks to all the loyal donors from Jane, Suzi and Sophia.
Report of the June 11th Outing
by Rhona Thornton
I met Suzi and Reagan at St Philip’s at 9.30. It was Regan’s first outing, and she was shadowing in order to learn more about what we do. We were very happy to have her. We loaded up my car with clothing, underwear, camping mats, packages, sandwiches, fruit and eggs. Thanks to the parishioners of St Philip’s for their generosity.
We headed off in two cars. Suzi went to see B at St Helen’s and Reagan and I went to the fence where we saw B, A and M. B and A are housed; M is not. They all took an assortment of food, clothing and toiletries and were grateful for everything.
Next we went to 4th and Vine where we saw P. There is an article about him in this month’s Megaphone so Suzi and I both bought a copy. He was happy to receive the food on offer. Then we saw W in his wheelchair outside Whole Foods. Unfortunately, he has a lot of neck pain which he said was a result of some medical procedure. He is housed and was grateful to accept food and a pair of underwear.
At this point Suzi had to leave us as she had another commitment. Reagan and I drove along 4th. Under the Granville bridge Reagan spotted a woman in a sleeping bag so we parked at the bus loop and walked down. Her name is A. She was quiet but very pleasant and was happy with the camping mat and food that we gave her. She is unhoused but is not interested in looking for housing at the moment.
We drove past the 7th and Fir overpass and the Windsor plywood parking lot but didn’t see anyone so we headed up to Fir and 10th. We saw E’s belongings at the usual spot but he wasn’t there. We left him a package. In the alley behind McDonald’s we saw L and R who were both happy with the food, clothing and toiletries that we gave them. We gave R food for R too. R also took a mat as his and R’s belongings had recently been stolen. He talked about how it was sad that H had passed away. I asked him if he had seen R recently and he said yes, that he had seen him downtown. He mentioned that he and R are the only Ojibwas in town that he knows. I also had a good chat with L about how tough things have been for him over the last few months. He is interested in housing but it wasn’t clear who he had been in contact with. He doesn’t want to go downtown so I encouraged him to go to MPA and gave him a laminated card. While I was talking to L, a man came by asking for socks so Reagan gave him a package. He didn’t stop so we didn’t get his name.
On our way back to the car we saw that E was back so we gave him some of the fresh food. There was another man with him, L, whom I had met once before. He didn’t want anything but was happy to chat. He is unhoused and isn’t sure that he wants to find somewhere at this point.
At Wawanesa we saw J who took food for both himself and J. He also asked us to ask Joan to call J which I did. Next we saw S outside the Subway on Broadway at Balaclava. I hadn’t seen him in a while so it was nice to see him. As always, he was very grateful to receive the fresh food and package. He also took a baseball cap. We didn’t see anyone outside the Shoppers on Dunbar so we returned the leftover supplies to St Philip’s.
Overall, it was a very good outing. We handed out most of the food and quite a bit of clothing, the t-shirts and underwear were especially popular. As always, we had interesting conversations with many of the folks whom we met. I am impressed with how open some of them are with us and how they talk to us about topics such as their drug and alcohol use, the time they have spent in prison, medical problems that they have, their experiences living on the streets and the struggles that they have had with finding housing. It is an honour that we are able to have these conversations with them even if it is the first time that they have met a specific volunteer. I believe that the reputation that the WANM has on the streets has built a level of trust that is greater than any one individual might experience.
I was very happy to have Reagan’s company and help. She was a natural at spotting people, interacting with them, and making sure that everybody was offered all of the food and clothing items. We saw 15 people.
Report of the May 14 Outing
Once a month at St Philip’s, we fill 15-20 Ziplock bags full of non-perishable food and socks. All of this food is donated by parishioners which means that we never need to shop for groceries. We also receive donations of seasonal clothing, camping supplies and McDonald’s gift cards, which are much appreciated. We have many dedicated indoor and outdoor team volunteers who carry out this ministry.
On May 14, Joanne, Suzi and Sophia were the outdoor team. Sophia and Nora prepared the packages, Katie made the sandwiches, and Joanne provided the eggs and fruit. It was a successful outing. In addition to the regulars, they met two new men whom they told about our Ministry and about our volunteers out every Saturday morning. Over time new people become regulars who trust that we will always show up. One of our regulars had just had all of his belongings stolen; sadly this is not an infrequent occurrence. Fortunately, the out team was well stocked so we were able to provide him with plenty of camping supplies and clothing thanks to our donors at St Philips.
A Heartfelt Thank You from the Neighbourhood Ministry and Our Friends on the Streets
It has been a hard, cold, wet winter for the folks who live on the streets. Thanks to your donations of camping supplies and clothing, we have been able to make them a bit more comfortable. The McDonald's gift cards are very much appreciated as they give people somewhere warm and dry to go to get out of the cold. The non-perishable food which you give is essential. When St Philip’s volunteers go out, all of the groceries that we give has been donated by our parishioners. Thank you!
Camping Supplies Needed
As the weather gets colder and wetter, we are looking for donations of the following to the lidded plastic tubs on the porch or the baskets at the back of the church:
Thank you for the sleeping bags!
Our friends on the streets struggle to stay warm. The best sleeping bags are synthetic as they dry out quickly. You heard our plea for donations of $50 or more to the Neighbourhood Ministry to purchase a sleeping bag that we can give to the people who need one so badly. Still want to help? Contact Rhona Thornton, St Philip's Parish liaison at [email protected]
Thanks to all our donors who make this ministry possible!
Mission Statement of the Westside Anglican Neighbourhood Ministry
Reviewed by the Board of Management: Nov 23, 2021
The Neighbourhood Ministry was started in 2007 when a small group of concerned church members decided that they would like to support the people who are unhoused on the West Side. The response that they got from many was “there aren’t any homeless people on the Westside”. But then these same people started to look around them: there’s someone outside Shoppers on Dunbar, and at the corner of 4th and Vine, etc. They realised that the issue wasn’t that there weren’t any unhoused people in our neighbourhood, it was just that they didn’t SEE them. I believe that that is the same, to a greater or lesser degree, for all of us. As we go about our busy lives, the homeless people become almost invisible and I’m sure that sometimes they feel that way too.
The Mobile Care Unit (MCU) continues to provide bi-monthly medical and social services at St. Augustine’s, Marpole, 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm on Thursdays. Dr. Stephanie operates the medical services side of the MCU, which offers basic medical services (wound care, diagnosis, preventative care, assistance with disability applications, and referrals for long term or specialty care). More than 15 people were served by the MCU in June, with services ranging from disability, diabetic and dietician information assistance to housing, CPP, tax claims, birth certificate and ID applications.
How is the Neighbourhood Ministry Funded?
The Westside Anglicans Neighbourhood Ministry (WANM) is a collaborative effort of four Westside Anglican parishes (St. Anselm’s, St. Helen’s, St. John’s Shaughnessy and St. Philip’s), all under the Diocese of New Westminster.
Each church contributes $2,500 annually to the WANM. St. Philip's contribution comes out of the Outreach Budget. The rest of the funding for WANM comes from grants. In 2018 and 2019 this Ministry received a Care and Share grant. In 2020 it received a grant from the City of Vancouver and recently it was awarded $10,000 from the Union Gospel Mission's Christian Leader's Fund. The WANM expenses include, but are not limited to, staffing (Rev'd Liz Hamel worked as Program and Volunteers Manager from Fall 2020 to June 2021), office supplies, sleeping bags and other camping gear, Christmas Outreach, individual support (eg moving-in expenses for a client) and funding for meal programs at the Dunbar Apartments. The food supplies that go out every week are collected by each church individually and mainly donated by their parishioners. St Philip’s has also maintained its own separate Neighbourhood Ministry account funded by Outreach in order to purchase items we may need, but in 2023 the funding for these purchases will come from the WANM.
The accounting for the WANM is on St Philip’s books. When looking at the St Philip's financial reports, you will see the WANM and the NM reflected in two areas: these are two different pots of money.
The Dunbar Apartments Christmas Luncheon 2021
The Dunbar Apartments at W. 17th & Dunbar are run by Coast Mental Health. On Dec. 18, thirteen Neighbourhood Ministry volunteers and staff put on the huge annual Christmas Luncheon at the Dunbar Apartments, the first since 2019.
The residents enjoyed turkey with homemade gravy, stuffing, ham, a variety of casseroles, a myriad of pancakes, bacon and scrambled eggs, followed by a surfeit of desserts, baked goodies, eggnog and cranberry juice.
Volunters handed out cards with a handwritten message for the 52 residents at Dunbar. They also received a $10 Shoppers Drug Mart Gift Card enclosed in their Christmas card from the Neighbourhood Ministry.
This luncheon was the first allowed to be hosted by an outside group at Coast Mental Health since 2019, held under strictly followed health protections.
Joan Stewart, Co-Chair of the Board of Management, reported that the residents expressed their gratitude for what they termed “The best meal we’ve had all year!”
With careful distancing in place, many stayed to chat and provide the Neighbourhood Ministry team with an update on their lives.