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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]  

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.

We need: 

  • Men’s sports socks and underwear
  • T-shirts
  • Can openers
  • McDonald's Gift Cards
  • Soft cereal and protein bars
  • Boost, pudding & fruit cups
  • Canned meat and fish
  • Juice boxes
  • Razors
  • Toothbrushes and toothpaste.

Note- please don’t leave any clothing other than the items mentioned above. Thank you.

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.  

Mary    

 

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 a place to warm up
  • Pantry Supplies: cereal bars - similar to Nutrigrain bars; please avoid bars with nuts or ones that are chewy

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

“Mutual Transformation” 

Reviewed by the Board of Management: Nov 23, 2021

  • We aim to show love and kindness to our homeless and vulnerable neighbours on Vancouver’s Westside, simply by being a non-judgmental, reliable presence in their lives
  • We aim to be a bridge for them to access medical and social services which are inaccessible due to physical, mental health, and economic challenges and circumstances.
  • We hope that the hearts of our volunteers and those who witness our work are transformed; that they become even more compassionate and committed by our weekly outreach and care to address the chronic crisis of homelessness.

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.

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. 

  • 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.

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