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 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]
Donate: Please help us by donating 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.
Note- please don’t leave any clothing other than the items mentioned above. Thank you.
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.
The Neighbourhood Ministry Outing of April 16, 2022
By Jane Davis
Mary and I met Suzi and Linda at St. Philips at around 9:30 am. Suzi had everything ready for us and it was quite a load! We had lots of filled packages, sandwiches, eggs, bananas, muffins, banana bread (Mary also made some banana muffins), toiletries, clothing, shoes, sleeping bags, mats, and tarps. It was lovely to have so many items to give away on a sunny Easter Saturday! Many thanks to Suzi, Linda and the rest of the team at St. Philips for all the wonderful food and donations.
Mary and I left in two cars. Mary said she had seen A at 10th and Discovery, so we headed west along 10th but unfortunately, he had already left by the time we arrived there. We then drove over to St. Helen's and found B. He had moved his sleeping arrangement out in front of the church so he could enjoy the sunshine. He looked very comfortable. He refused all offerings and only took a gift card.
We then headed to Highbury and 4th (No Frills Mall) where we found T waiting for us and A showed up moments later. They both accepted everything, including underwear and gift cards. A also accepted a couple of toques, one for him and one for his wife. We drove up 4th towards Vine and parked. Although we hiked around the area for a bit, we did not find anyone. There was some sleeping gear outside Shoppers so we left a package, sandwich, egg, banana and baked goods for them. P may have taken the day off for the Easter holiday!
We then went east on 4th around the Granville Loop Park and over to 7th and Fir. We parked in the Windsor Lumber parking lot and walked around the area fairly extensively but found no one. That was disappointing because we would have liked to have visited with R or M to see how they were doing since H's passing.
We parked near the VSB Park, loaded up two carts and headed off. We found E in his usual spot. He gladly took everything, including a golf shirt and sweater. He seemed in good spirits, but he is always a little pensive and we did not chat very long. We headed over towards Granville and the back lane east of Granville. Not finding anyone, we headed over to Hemlock and back up the lane, walked up and down Granville and found L. I had met him about a month earlier sitting in the back lane. We woke him up but he did not seem upset about that. He is a well-spoken young man who told me last time that he has mental health issues for which I think he is getting some help. He accepted all the food offerings except sandwiches. He took underwear, a t-shirt and a sleeping bag. He was very grateful for everything.
As we did not find anyone else, we headed over to Wawanesa. We found J sitting with a fellow named C. J said J was brooding at home! I have not seen J much these last few outings. I hope he is okay! We gave them all the food offerings, including stuff for J. J loves boiled eggs and he asked me to peel them for him. I know he struggles with that; I have seen him making a terrible mess trying to peel them so it might be a nice gesture if we offer to do that when we give him eggs! I don't think J took any clothing but Mary certainly outfitted C with lots of clothing items. I am not sure about his housing situation. He was travelling fairly light, so I hope he has a room.
We travelled west on Broadway but we did not see anyone outside the London Drugs, IGA, Safeway at MacDonald, or at Tim's. We continued west towards Alma, but did not see anyone at the MacDonald’s or the 7 Eleven at the corner of 10th and Alma. We headed up to Dunbar but found no one at Stong’s or Shopper’s up there so we went back to St. Philip’s to drop off the remaining items.
As it had been a very quiet day, there were quite a few packages left. I kept a couple because I was going to stop off at the Safeway on 4th to see if P had arrived later. I also kept the bananas which I will freeze to make banana muffins for my next outing. I did not see P at his usual spot but found a youngish man outside the Safeway. He is quite often there panhandling so I gave him all the food offerings I had with me.
Although it was a quiet day, the weather was pleasant and we had a nice outing.
Happy Easter week from Mary and Jane!
The Neighbourhood Ministry Outing of March 19, 2022
By Jane Davis
I met Suzi and her son at St. Philips at around 9:30. As usual, Suzi was very organized with lots of clothing all sorted out, large packages in compostable ziplock bags, p&j and cheese sandwiches (kindly made by Katie), lots of bananas, oranges, boiled eggs, sleeping bags, mats, some toiletries, and gift cards My car was completely full..there was barely room for Penny and me! Thanks to Suzi and her son for getting everything together and into my car, and thanks to all the St. Philips' parishioners for their generosity.
I went straight to St. Helen's to see B. He was still sleeping so I just left a package, banana and sandwich by his bed. I then met up with Mary (who was the spare for this week and kindly volunteered to assist me this Saturday) at 4th and Highbury. There was no one at the fence. Mary also checked inside the Mall and found no one.
We headed up to 4th and Yew in separate cars. While walking along 4th towards Vine, we met T who is housed but was happy to take all the food offerings. At his usual spot, we found P who took a package, sandwich, and fruit but no eggs. We walked east past Whole Foods and found R. He was packing up his sleeping gear as we approached. Neither Mary nor I had met him before. He was happy to take food, two pairs of underwear and a MacDonald's gift card. Mary asked him about housing but he had not yet filled in forms. Although I could not locate my info cards, he was familiar with the Gathering Place and the MPA building so we suggested he go to the Gathering Place to get assistance with housing forms. I have to admit that I found it difficult to understand everything he said but it appeared that he had been living outside for a while. He seemed fairly well equipped with a large backpack and tarp, but we didn't get much more information from him.
We then drove down 4th towards Granville, circling Granville Loop Park on the way. We headed along 7th to Fir and parked. We found M and R still under the bridge opposite the MPA building. They have a huge encampment because they have all H's possessions as well. He was taken to hospital Sunday, March 13 and was still there. M said that it's H's hip and leg that are the problem. M is still hoping that housing for himand H comes through fairly soon. In the meantime, those fellows frequent the MPA building throughout the day for coffee and to get warm. We gave M and R all the food offerings, underwear, extra socks, some toiletries, and gift card, etc. M also took a pair of runners and boots both size 10, a cap and gloves. Mary and I next hiked down the lane between 6th and 7th checking out the parkades but did not find anyone else.
We drove over to Fir and 10th opposite the VSB park. We did not find J but E was in his usual spot at the back of the VSB building. He has been camped there for some time. He does not like his room on Water Street but apparently he has someone trying to find an alternate place for him; it still may be downtown but not the Eastside. He took food and a gift card.
We headed over to the lane behind the MacDonalds but found no one. As we were walking towards the front of the building, we found B sitting inside the MacDonalds. I went in to talk to him to see if he wanted anything and he said yes. He asked that we just put the food on his bike. We also gave him a gift card for MacDonalds! I chatted to him for a few moments while Mary checked around the front on Granville. We then walked over to Hemlock but seeing no one there, we walked back towards Granville and up a couple of blocks. I was hoping to find L, the young fellow Peg and I had met the week before, because he had requested a mat. Unfortunately, despite checking the back lanes, we did not see him.
We drove back along Broadway to the Wawanesa building. J was waiting for us but J had gone home to get warm. We gave J packages and food for himself and J (with lots of extra eggs for J). We gave them underwear and gift cards. J asked for some extra large clothing for J. We gave him a fleece jacket and outer jacket, both extra large. We then headed west to the Safeway where we found D. He took food, extra socks and a gift card. He said he has a good place to sleep at night, undercover and hidden. We often see him at Whole Foods but he said he got up late and knew he would have missed us on 4th so went to the Safeway instead. We then found S at Tim's. He seemed a little sombre that day, but he took food, underwear and a t-shirt. He said he has a girl friend so he can stay at her place sometimes.
Mary and I then headed up to Dunbar but finding no one outside Stongs or Shoppers, we went back to St. Philips to drop off the remaining items. Although it was a fairly quiet day, we were lucky with the weather and enjoyed our outing.
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!
The Neighbourhood Ministry Outing of February 19, 2022
By Jane Davis
I met Suzi at St. Philips. Suzi kindly volunteered to come out this Saturday as Peg was unable to make it. Suzi also organized all the food, clothing and outdoor gear that we took with us. She also drove because she has a slightly larger vehicle than I do and as usual we were laden down with items (this was especially kind of her because we also had my little dog Penny with us). We had packages filled with non-perishables as well as socks, cheese and P&J sandwiches, bananas, oranges, banana bread, little valentines cookies and lots of chocolates. We also took with us a few sleeping bags, mats, coats, rain jackets, sweaters/fleeces, lots of gloves, toques, socks and underwear! Oh and boots and toiletries! Thanks to all the parishioners for their generous contributions and to Suzi for getting this all together.
We headed out on a rather dismal day. We first went over to see B at St. Helen's. He was still snoozing but woke up while we were there. With a little persuasion he accepted some food.
Then we headed over to No Frills and only found A waiting for us. He gladly took everything for himself and his wife. He also accepted a very nice weather proof jacket with a nice lining. I had washed it and it really was a terrific coat! He was happy with it as one of his coats had a broken zipper. He also took a lined suede jacket for his wife. No one else appeared while we were there - we had hoped to see M to give him a cane but he was not around this Saturday so we left and drove up to 4th and Yew.
We found P in his usual spot, happy as always and took all our food offerings. He said he was going to spend Sunday and Family Day with his grandkids! As we walked back towards the car past Shoppers there was someone's belongings chained up at the side of the building. We left a package and a sandwich and fruit. We think he went into one of the stores but could not spot him. As we drove away, we saw T at the corner of 4th and Yew so we stopped and gave him a package and some food. He does have a place but always appreciates getting the extra food.
We then drove down 4th Avenue towards Granville Loop Park and not seeing anyone there we headed up to 7th and drove down the lane between Granville and Fir. We found an entire community in the parking lot on the south side. There were four fellows hanging out there but there is a ton of stuff; i.e. tarps, sleeping gear, bikes, etc... R was sound asleep and did not get up while we were there but we spoke with M, M and another fellow who was not doing very well. We gave them all packages, sandwiches, fruit, cookies, banana bread, underwear, socks, toiletries, etc. M also took some boots and weather-proof pants. He was thrilled with his clothing and by the time we left, he had on his new boots and pants!
We headed over to Fir and Broadway and found J and E at the VSB park. I had not seen J for a bit but he is boostered and seems in good shape. He took everything including a hand sanitizer. E took all the food offerings and some underwear. We then headed over to the lane behind the MacDonalds adjacent to Jordan's Carpets. We found R (a First Nations fellow who has a partner named R). He was happy to see us and grateful for everything we gave him and R. He was happy with extra socks and gloves. He said that the items he and R had been given the Saturday before had kept them warm all week and he was very thankful. We then found another fellow named M binning. He was freezing and was only wearing a thin hoodie and it was getting very wet. We gave him all the food offerings and lots of clothing. He immediately took off his wet hoodie and put on a nice warm sweater and a waterproof jacket which fit him perfectly. He also donned a cap and took gloves, extra socks and underwear. He couldn't thank us enough and I felt happy that we could at least make his life a little more comfortable. He said he couch surfs and did not hold out much hope for housing in the near future. I told him that we were always in that area (Granville and Broadway) at around 11:30 ish with food and clothing. A also showed up and always likes to take food. He is always grateful and helpful because he lets us know if anyone else is in the area.
Next we saw J at Wawanesa. We asked after J and J said he was resting at home. J took everything including extra large underwear for J and extra socks. J also took a nice blue fleece which he promptly put on under his jacket. I asked J about his teeth. Apparently his top ones are fine but the bottom ones hurt him a bit so he doesn't wear them all the time.
Our next stop was the Subway across from Tim's on Broadway. S, G and D were outside undercover at Subway. They all took food, extra socks, gloves and D took a pair of boots. We had not seen D for a bit. He said he moves around along Broadway. S is generally always stationed outside the Subway as is G.
As we were out of all our food and packages, we headed back up to St. Philips to drop off the remaining gear and clothing. Despite the gloomy day, we were happy we made quite a few connections with new and old friends. Thanks again to Suzi for jumping in and helping me this weekend. Jane and Suzi
Feb. 19 Report by Suzi Noetzel
St Philip’s provided the food and clothing for the outdoor team. Thanks to Norah for putting together the packets & Katie for making cheese and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, they were a hit as always. Thank you to the fundraising committee for donating cookies & banana bread that was unsold at the Valentines Day Bake sale. They were received with gratitude, the banana bread especially was a huge hit! We also had a big bag of chocolates that we handed out. The extra treats made the dismal day a bit sunnier for all involved. Jane & Suzi piled Suzi’s car up to the brim with with food and clothing and we set out accompanied by Penny, Jane’s very sweet dog. We were worried that we wouldn’t find some of our regular friends due to the rain, but our worries were unfounded.
We handed out all 20 food packets, all our sandwiches, fruit and baked goods, as well as coats, boots, sweaters, socks, underwear, hats & gloves. Most of the people we met were already known to us, but we did come across a few new people. We met some interesting people this week and we were impressed by their willingness to chat and share with us. It really is a mutually transforming experience.
We felt good to be able to provide so many items of clothing and food and that is thanks to everyone who has donated to the work of the Neighbourhood Ministry. Your donations do make a difference. Our next outing is March 19th; we’ll be putting together packets the week before. We’ll need donations of cereal bars, cans of food, pudding or fruit cups and juice boxes in the upcoming weeks. Think of us when you are at the grocery store and consider putting a little something for the Neighbourhood Ministry in your cart.
Neighbourhood Ministry Outing of Saturday, January 22, 2022
Report by Mary Lymburner
Steph and I met at St. Philip’s where Suzi provided us with packets, sandwiches, lots of eggs and bananas and chocolates, as well as sleeping bags, mats, and all sorts of clothing.
Our first stop was the fence at 4th and Highbury but no one was there. At 4th and Vine, we found P in his usual spot on the northeast corner selling the Megaphone. He was in good spirits and looked well. He took food but did not need anything else. The only other person in that area was M on the southwest corner, but he waved us away.
We continued east along 4th to Hemlock, looking in the Granville Loop Park and under the bridge ramps but saw no one. Next, we went to 7th and Fir and checked the parking garages off the lane behind Windsor Plywood. There were no people or evidence of camping in those garages, where people had been found on several previous outings.
We noticed an encampment under the bridge ramp at 7th and Fir, so we went over there. At first no one was there, but soon H came up. He was happy to see us and took food for himself and his friend R who was expected back soon. His sleeping bag had been stolen so we gave him a sleeping bag and also jeans, gloves, and a fleece jacket. He told us he had recently had his first dose of vaccine at the Three Bridges clinic. A young man H knew came along, but he did not engage with us despite H’s efforts to introduce us.
We then drove to Fir and 10th where we parked and set out on foot around that neighbourhood. We did not find J at the VSB park. Someone was sleeping by the VSB building. He woke up when we spoke. It was E. He took food but did not want anything else.
We continued east on 10th across Granville. Under the overhang outside Chapman’s there were two sleeping bags, as well as other belongings neatly piled up. We decided to come back later to see if the owners had returned. We went up the lane towards Broadway and found A and R. I don’t think I had met R before, but he seemed to know our group. A is housed. R is homeless. We gave him some information about where to apply for housing. He had been given a sleeping bag yesterday at the Odd Fellows shelter. Both took food. R took a pair of jeans and a couple of masks and light gloves. He asked if we had a hoodie or sweater. We had some in the car, so said we would come back. On our way back to the car we left packets and food at the two sleeping areas by Chapman’s. We then drove back down the lane and gave R a fleece and a lighter shirt, as well as a tarp. At that point he asked if we had noticed his stuff on 10th. Apparently, the other sleeping bag belonged to T but we did not see him. We asked if they had seen B, and they said they had heard he had been seen further east.
We then headed west on Broadway. At the Wawanesa Building we found that Maple St. was blocked off by construction, so we could not park there as we usually do. However, we could see the place where J and J usually meet us and they were not there.There did not seem to be anyone in front of London Drugs, nor in front of Safeway.
At Broadway and Balaclava, we met S by Subway. He seems to be camping out there the last few weeks. He was happy to take lots of food.
We went to St. Helen’s. B was not there, but we left food by his sleeping bag on the porch. We then went to the Shoppers at Dunbar and 27th. No one was there.
We returned our carts and other supplies and leftover packets to St. Philip’s. It was a pleasant outing with good weather. We did not see as many people as usual. One person reminded us that it was the Saturday after the Income Assistance payments, so people were in less need than at other times of the month.
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 also maintains its own separate Neighbourhood Ministry account to fund the purchase of items it may need (protein bars, Ensure, socks, etc.)
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.
WANM Street Outreach Team Report for Sat. Dec. 18, 2021
Team Members: Peg Gabor & Janice Hope
Peg and Janice met Suzi at St Philip's on a super gloomy, rain-filled morning. Suzi loaded Janice's minivan with four nice, oversized warm coats, a sleeping bag and mat, a big bag of waterproof gloves, another bag of hats and scarves, underwear, long underwear, and HUGE Christmas packages (packed by Sophia) with the usual items, plus extra socks, a large chocolate bar and a $10 McDonald's gift card courtesy of a generous St. Philip's parishioner. There was also fresh food: eggs, bananas, mandarins from Joanne, plus delicious cookies and sandwiches made by Katie. We also had vital information about extreme weather shelters that would be open over the weekend and reminded our clients to check their housing applications, as several hundred units of new supportive housing may soon be available in 2022.
It was cold, and the rain was becoming quite intense, as we started with a quick prayer.
We found B asleep, bundled up in his sleeping bag at St. Helen's and left him a package.
At Whole Foods, we parked and walked around. We did not see P at first. Outside of Shoppers on 4th Avenue, we saw M but he did not want anything. When we circled back, P was setting up, and we gave him a Christmas package.
Under the bridge at 7th and Fir, we found R and G with a huge pile of stuff. They looked pretty rough and were very grateful to receive packages and food, warm coats and gloves, and toiletries. H was in his sleeping bag in the parkade behind Windsor Plywood. He was cheerful and took a package and food.
At the VSB Park, we did not see J. E was in his sleeping bag, tucked up under the building overhang, barely keeping dry. He took a package and food and a nice, warm down vest.
We both took carts and bags and walked the usual Granville route. We did not find anyone until we got to the Circle K on Hemlock, where we saw M near the building with his bike. He was delighted to get the package and fresh food, and the waterproof gloves made his day. He told us that we had missed A, who was inside the Circle K, and that the pallet we had seen near Granville belonged to his friend A. We left a package for A, too.
J and P were tucked away in the upper stairwell by the old currency exchange on Granville. They were very thankful to take everything we offered, including warm coats.
We saw C and D in a doorway on Broadway just west of Granville. They were new to us and seemed very young. They were bundled up in some bedding and their belongings and had camped there. They were friendly but not too talkative and took packages, food, clothing, including some ladies' items and toiletries, including a little trial-sized perfume.
Behind Kohler's, we met B and L, also new to us. B is a middle-aged First Nations man, and L is an older grey-haired Caucasian guy. They were very willing to take everything we offered. They were camped out on a piece of cardboard, so we gave them a sleeping bag and mat.
J was waiting at his usual spot and took two packages and underwear. He said J was out shopping.
We didn't see anyone at the Safeway on MacDonald or S at Tim Horton's. We spotted a white-haired man with a cart near the McDonald's on Blenheim. He had gone inside by the time we circled, so we left a "Christmas surprise" on his shopping cart.
At this point, we were quite cold and wet through—and then the sun came out! We brought the remaining goodies (not much left) back to St. Philip's.
On her way home, Janice went by Shoppers on Dunbar but didn't find anyone there, so the remaining Christmas package will be returned to St. Philip's.
It was a productive day with many contacts made. It felt good to be able to offer our friends so much abundance, including the information about available housing and shelter.
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.
Report of the Outing of November 20, 2021
by Janice Hope
Fortunate to have good weather, Mary and I met at St. Philip’s and loaded Mary’s car with sleeping bags, mats, packets, sandwiches, fruit, eggs, shoes, and clothing all organized by Suzi.
First stop was Highbury and 4th Avenue where we saw T who was happy to receive a packet and a pair of gloves – the one size stretchy ones seem to be popular. Next to St. Helen’s we were hoping to find B, but he wasn’t there so we left a packet with his things. On the way to the corner of 4th and Vine we came across C, who had been resting between RBC and MacDonald’s; he thanked us for the sleeping bag and packet.
At 4th and Vine P greeted us from his usual place outside Whole Foods. He gladly accepted a packet and gave us an update on who he had seen nearby. Also outside Whole Foods but a bit farther east, we met T who was new to us and new to the street. He asked about shelters for which we didn’t have a list but we did give him an information card listing the services and information available through WANM. Even though he didn’t have a lot of things with him, he declined taking a sleeping bag and mat and he said he was ok sleeping with his blanket.
East of Windsor Plywood on West 7th in the parking for the apartments above we met P, R and A. P did not look well as she was very unsteady on her feet, found it difficult to keep her eyes open and was continually shaking – she said that all these symptoms were due to a chronic condition for which she had received medical treatment. She had been injured the night before when she had fallen and hit her head; a cut and abrasion were visible near her hairline. We suggested going to the hospital and even calling 911 if she became worse. P assured us she was fine, and R said he had a phone if it became necessary to call for an ambulance. Although unsteady and drowsy, she was coherent and carefully tried on a couple of coats. She was happy with a warm coat (she looked very cold), a pair of gloves, sweatpants, puffy vest, and a tuque. All three thanked us for the food and clothing.
At VSB we saw E who had his camp close to the building. He gratefully accepted some food, underwear, and hand sanitizer. We were surprised not to see J at VSB. Behind McDonald’s at Broadway and Granville we met A, C, F and R. All received food. In addition, C took a sleeping bag, underwear, gloves, shirt, fleece and tuque, F picked out a pair of gloves and Ron was happy to get a sleeping bag, mat, toiletries, masks, hand sanitizer and gloves.
We continued to Wawanesa where J and J were waiting for us. Both men received some food, additional canned goods, and some XL shirts. At Broadway and Arbutus, we managed to navigate all of the construction and found a good spot to park near the Greenway. Sitting on some benches were L and D, and S nearby. L was very happy to get a sleeping bag, mat, and tarp; he said he was really looking forward to a decent night of sleep. D chose a hat and both received some food and a packet each. S chose a sweater and some gloves.
Driving along Broadway we kept a lookout but didn’t find anyone on the way back to St. Philip’s.