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Urgent Request for Sleeping Bags!

As the weather gets colder and damper, our friends on the streets struggle to stay warm. A dry, warm sleeping bag makes a world of difference to them. Please consider donating one.  The best sleeping bags are synthetic as they dry out quickly. Amazon sells one that the NM recommends: Coleman Palmetto Cool Weather Adult Sleeping Bag ($55) You can buy one on Amazon at  Cold Weather Sleeping Bag 

If you prefer, please consider donating $50 to the Neighbourhood Ministry to purchase one on your behalf. If you have questions or would like to contribute, please email your parish liaison at St. Philip’s, Rhona Thornton.  [email protected]

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:

  • Sleeping bags- ideally synthetic as they dry out more easily  Cold Weather Sleeping Bag 
  • Sleeping pads
  • Tarps 
  • Tents
  • Warm waterproof jackets, pants & gloves
  • McDonald's Gift Cards for place to warm up
  • Pantry Supplies: cereal bars - similar to Nutrigrain bars; please avoid bars with nuts or ones that are chewy

Thanks to all our donors who make this ministry possible.

Report of the Outing of October 23, 2021

By Rhona Thornton, Parish Liaison to the Westside Anglican Neighbourhood Ministry

Joanne picked me up at 9.30 and then we met Suzi at St Philip’s. She gave us clothing, camping supplies, packets and sandwiches which had been made by Katie. Joanne had brought bananas and eggs.

At 4th and Highbury the only person we met was A who took food, underwear, and a sweater. Our next stop was 4th and Vine. P was at his usual spot. I bought a calendar from him. He pointed out which photo he took. R was outside Whole Foods. He was very happy to receive the food. He is working on his housing with Molly at the Carnegie Centre. M was at his usual spot outside Shoppers. He asked us to apologise to last week’s volunteers as he felt that he had been rude to them. As usual he just took a Boost (strawberry).

At 7th and Fir under the bridge we saw G who is new to us. He is not housed but didn’t want to talk about housing applications. In addition to the food, he was very grateful to accept a tarp, a sweater, and extra socks.We looked in the parking lot behind Windsor Plywood and didn’t see anyone. However, when we looked in the underground parking lot, a woman called out “Hello ladies from the church!” :) Her name is D and she took food and a sweater. She is housed.

We parked opposite the school board park and saw J who said that he was well physically, but ”tired of the virus”. We walked all around the neighbourhood but didn’t see B or E. We saw C beside Chapman’s on 10th at Granville. He took a mat as the one we gave him last week had been stolen. He was very grateful for all the food. I believe that he said that MPA (a non-profit agency that ministers to those coping with mental health difficulties) is helping him with his housing application.

At Wawanesa, we saw J and J. J was very proud to tell us that he has lost 30 pounds over the past 8 months. We gave him a turtleneck and they both took food.

At the bus stop on the SE corner of Arbutus and Broadway we saw S and O. Mary and I had met S at that spot a few weeks ago so it is probably worth checking it out routinely. She has been on the streets for 8 years and sounds very angry about the whole housing situation and how she has been treated. She got very annoyed when I suggested MPA as she is “not crazy”. It makes me mindful of the fact that since MPA is for people with mental illness, unfortunately some people will take it as an insult when we suggest that they go there. We gave her a blanket, a jacket and food. Pi is housed and didn’t want anything. He seemed to be very concerned about S.

Outside the liquor store we saw D and L, both new to us. L said that S had told him about us. They both took food, a sleeping bag, a tarp, a mat, and an information card. D expressed an interest in going to the Mobile Care Unit (MCU) and L said he might go to the Gathering Place. We did not see S outside Tim’s. At Safeway we saw P who is very frustrated with the housing situation. He told us that sometimes he sleeps in his friend’s garage. He took a sleeping bag, food, and a jacket. We didn’t have any sleeping mats left to offer him.

We didn’t see anybody outside Shoppers, so we returned some supplies to St Philip’s and Joanne dropped me home at 2 pm. We had a longish outing as we met a lot of people who wanted to talk. We were happy to listen.

History

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.

VOLUNTEER!

We are recruiting volunteers, so if you would like to be part of any of the teams or assist with our social media presence, please contact Joan at [email protected] For more information on the WANM, please visit: neighbourhoodministry.com and the Facebook page: facebook.com/neighbourhoodministry 

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 also maintains its own separate Neighbourhood Ministry account to fund the purchase of items it may need (protein bars, Ensure, socks, etc.)  

It is a little confusing for parishioners at St Philip’s as 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 and these are two different pots of money.

Photos by WANM volunteers, Colour photo by Clay LeConey  and black & white photo by Matt Collamer on Unsplash