The Neighbourhood Ministry Requests Spring and Summer Clothing: the clothing cupboard is almost bare
Please help us by donating the following items in the Narthex baskets on Sundays:
PLEASE ONLY DONATE THE ABOVE CLOTHING ITEMS. When we get other clothing donations, we need to donate them elsewhere, which creates more work for our volunteers.
REGARDING FOOD- at the moment, we have enough. Please only donate items that show at least a two-month expiry date as it takes us that long to organise, package and distribute nonperishables to our friends on the streets.
Neighbourhood Ministry Street Outreach Report for April 22nd, 2023
Submitted by Meg Kwasnicki
Meg and Dana met Suzi with the indoor team at St Philips where we picked up packages, PBJ and cheese sandwiches, eggs, and bananas along with packaged cookies and cheese/pepperoni snack packs (left over from the Kiwanis Festival at the church). NB- there are many more cheese/pepperoni snacks remaining (some in the fridge at St. P’s) for the future. They were very popular and in retrospect we could have given far more per person. We will remember for next time.
We also had $10 Shopper’s and Tim Horton’s gift cards. All were so pleased to get them. We also brought underwear, socks, T Shirts, and some shoes. Thanks to the indoor team for the food and packet prep!
We drove in separate cars to the first stop at 4th and Highbury: “The Fence” where we met with T, B and M who were in good spirits, despite the dreary weather and B's recent operation and stay in the hospital for several weeks. All took food and packages, underwear, socks, razors* and the gift cards (each got Shoppers and Tim Hortons and they were very thankful). B also took an umbrella Meg had to donate. M requested another rain jacket saying he needed to give the one he got previously to “a homeless girl” to help her out.
We then headed to Safeway at 4th and Vine. We didn’t see P as we were expecting. D was in front of Whole Foods, in a good mood. He took a package, sandwich PBJ, socks and a gift card; so thankful for it! While there, a woman from the neighbourhood engaged Meg in some questions about our volunteer work and we passed on to look us up on the various church sites. She wanted to pass on that as a neighbour she appreciates what we do.
VSB Park and Granville St. We then drove by the loop around Granville Bridge and saw no one under the bridge or in the park. We checked out 7th and Fir; saw no one there. We headed over to VSB park where there was no one. We met R at the Edward Chapman’s on Granville - he took a packet, food, underwear, and a gift card. D was catching up and he said he was having some problems with his stomach, and generally feeling low. NB - he asked for razors and sweat pants but we didn’t have these things at the time.
We then circled down 10th into the alley and saw S’s stuff outside McDonald’s. He came out to greet us and took the packet, some food, a gift card, and was otherwise quite content, telling us that the week before had been very strange. Was a witness to a harsh interaction between police and a woman they were retaining. He let us know that it had also been welfare week, so we might see fewer people than usual.
There was no one at Circle K (expecting to see A). Walking the alley behind Granville towards 12th, we unexpectedly found A in the car park stairwell door trying to catch up on sleep. He appeared very appreciative that we called out to him, and we had a nice conversation about his family in Croatia. He had very little with him (and did talk about how much his things get stolen); we left him with a food package, gift cards, and a sleeping bag. We thought he might use a sleeping mat if we see him next time.
We drove up to Safeway to park and walked on Broadway checking the front and side street, then on foot circled the parking lot underneath, and found no one. We continued down Broadway to Tim Hortons but didn't see S. We stopped at St. Helen’s to catch B on the way back, found his stuff (but not him) at the side of the church and left him a packet and food offerings. Finally, before going back to St. Philip’s, we checked the Dunbar Shopper’s and saw no one. We gave out 8 sandwiches and packets, 11 gift cards of St. Philip’s supply. Meg took back the remaining sandwiches, eggs, bananas and oranges to 17th and Dunbar apartments (they send their thanks!)
It was a bit of a wet, cloudy, and somewhat melancholy day- but meeting our friends and the good conversations brightened up our day.
VOLUNTEER for Westside Anglicans Neighbourhood Ministry!
We are currently looking for volunteers for both the Street Outreach Programme and the Mobile Care Unit. Street Outreach Volunteers go out on the streets one Saturday once a month from 9:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. approximately. No car is needed.
Learn more at neighbourhoodministry.com and our Facebook page
If the reports below inspire you to learn more, or become part of an indoor or outdoor team, please contact Joan Stewart at [email protected]
Neighbourhood Ministry Street Outreach Report for Saturday, March 25th, 2023
Report by Rhona Thornton
Participants: Rhona Thornton and Janice Hope. Packages prepared by St. Philip’s
Janice and I picked up packages, fresh food, clothing and sleeping bags from St Philip’s. First we headed to 4th and Highbury where we met A. We were very sad to hear that there had been a fire at Steeve’s manor where he lives. Several units were completely destroyed and many people were evacuated due to smoke damage. He and his wife did not to leave their place but he said it was smoky. We gave him food for himself and his wife and a jacket for his wife.
At St Helen’s there was a funeral and we didn’t see B. We left a package with his belongings.
Next we headed to 4th and Vine where we didn’t see anyone. We didn’t see anyone under the Granville street overpasses or outside Windsor plywood. Next we parked at 10th and Fir. We walked all around the neighbourhood and only saw two people. A was outside the circle K. He was happy to receive all of the food on offer and a pair of underwear. R was on the West side of Granville between 12th and 13th. We gave him rain pants, warm wool socks, underwear and food. We didn’t see anyone at the church at 12th and Hemlock. At the front door of the church on Fir at 11th we saw a sleeping bag with other belongings so we left a package.
We saw S outside the Dollarama. He was very happy with the stroller that Jane had given him a couple of weeks ago. We gave him lots of food and a baseball cap. We dropped off the left over perishable food at Dunbar and 17th. We didn’t see anyone outside Shoppers so we returned the supplies to St Philip’s.
Although it was a quiet and rainy day, it was good to see the few people that we did see. We saw four people and handed out seven packages.
Neighbourhood Ministry Outreach Report for Saturday Feb 25, 2023
Report Submitted by Meg Kwasnicki
Steph and Meg met at St Philips at 9:30 and the indoor team provided 15 packets of non-perishable foods, 3 bunches of Bananas, tangerine oranges, 18 hard-boiled eggs, Cheese and Peanut butter and Jelly sandwiches. We also took 2 sleeping bags, shoes, various jackets and clothing items.
It was a cold day, the first in what we knew was going to be a wintery stretch of days.
Around 10 we left. We went to Highbury and 4th at “the fence”, where we met T and A. T took a packet and food and underwear, tried shoes (not the right size). A brought us two jackets back that were too small for his wife, took 2 packets and fruit (not taking a sandwich due to current diet restrictions), with some underwear, fleece vest and toiletries.
After that we drove up 4th to the Safeway at Yew Street, where we saw P, his usual friendly self (took a packet, hat and food). In front of Whole Foods, we met D who took a food packet, gloves, and socks. Back to the car, we passed in front of Shoppers, but there was no one there.
We then headed down 4th to the Granville Bridge/Hemlock circle. No one appeared to be under the overpass or in the park area. We then headed to 7th and Fir (no one under the overpass or behind hardware store in the alley) and moved on to Fir and 10th.
School Board Park was empty at that time. Over on 10th east of Granville at the closed Edward Chapman’s we met a young woman bundled up and lying down (didn't give us a name, but A thought it could be J). She was reluctant to take anything at first (said she couldn't carry anything), after a bit of a chat she took a packet and a toque. At that time two separate women also approached with clothing items to give; one woman was quite insistent to give a bag of designer clothes and we had to gently (but insistently) push back as "J" really didn't want the items. We learned that "J" had been living on the streets for about 3 years and has all but given up on applying to the system for anything - felt too beaten down to try further. We did pass along information about Kits showers and other services, but she seemed to know.
In the alley behind the Firehall there was no one. We circled down to Broadway and met J and K under different coverings of a courtyard building connector (by Jordan's furniture). J used to be under the overpass by Granville Is. and these days is staying at Oddfellows (seemed positive about this). He took a packet and food, some underwear and a pair of shoes that luckily fit (as his were very worn). K took a packet and food. Both had sleeping bags. At the Circle K we met A who took a packet and food and some underwear; he seemed fine. Moving West down 10th avenue we met a fellow outside the firehall that was thankful for a packet but didn't want any more to take away from others (and he wanted to be discreet about taking anything); we didn't catch a name. We checked out the alleys and street around 12th and Granville - but saw no one.Back at VSB we met R who took a packet + underwear.
Heading back west to Safeway at Broadway and MacDonald, we met D on the South-West corner of Stephens and Broadway (by Salvation Army Thrift). He took a food packet, but he was struggling quite a bit (we observed he may have an infected hand, but he did not offer this information). We left him with information about the Kits showers and the doctor. He seemed interested in getting help to apply for housing, though it wasn't quite clear. Next was Tim Horton’s at Balaclava where we met St who didn't need much food (others had given him) and was quite distressed because his cart wheel was broken and just couldn't manage any more stuff. It seemed getting the cart fixed was his primary concern and he might have taken a sleeping bag if it worked. Steph sent a separate email canvassing the group for a replacement cart on Monday. We headed up to St. Helen's to check in on B; he didn't need anything from us.
We were back at St. Philip’s around 1:30 p.m. to replace the items.
Steph took a packet to drop off with R at Shopper's. We had about 6 sandwiches remaining and 4 packets. Meg dropped off remaining eggs, sandwiches, oranges and bananas (lots left of the fruit and eggs) at 17th and Dunbar apartments.
Given the cold day and the impending poor weather, understandably folks seemed somewhat more stressed and withdrawn than usual.
Neighbourhood Ministry Street Outreach Report for Saturday January 28th, 2023
Submitted by Janice Hope
Mary and I met Suzi at St. Philip’s to pick up the assembled packages, hardboiled eggs, oranges, a few apples, and sandwiches nicely prepared by the indoor team. Thank you for your work – the labelled sandwich bags were appreciated! We also had $10 McDonald gift cards and some Shoppers gift cards. We loaded the car with various supplies including three sleeping bags and mats that Rhona had acquired earlier during the week.
At our first stop, 4th and Highbury, we found A by himself. He said he had been at the fence for a while and had not seen anyone else. A appreciated the food available as well as two fleece-hoodies, one for himself and a woman’s size for his wife.
P was at his usual station at West 4th Avenue and Vine Street and happily accepted a package as he gave us an update on who he had seen in the area. We found G in front of Whole Foods looking a bit chilled. He asked if we had any sleeping bags and was very grateful for the new one we brought to him from the car. G accepted food, a MacDonald’s gift card ($10) as well as a bar of chocolate.
Travelling next to the Granville loop, we parked on West 5th and checked the pedestrian tunnel as well as all areas of the park. We found some remnants of past camps but no people in the area.
Under the overpass at 7th and Fir Street we met R who had set up camp with his friend J who had stepped away for a moment. We gave R a package each for himself and J as well as some additional food. R also accepted a pair of gloves and a toque.
In front of the VSB, we came across S and his friend E who is new to us. S accepted some underwear and both took a MacDonald’s gift card as well as some food. E seemed a little reluctant to accept too much but S assured her it was ok. We walked along Broadway by the McDonald’s and around the lanes to Hemlock by the Circle K, but did not see anyone. Walking south on Granville, Mary luckily spotted A as we were passing each other in front of Shopper’s Drug mart at 13th Avenue. As he accepted some food and a package, he suggested we visit the parking garage under Holy Trinity Anglican Church at West 12th and Hemlock. There we met T who is new to us. T said he was ok for clothing and a sleeping bag but he did accept food and Macdonald’s and Shopper’s gift cards. The weather forecast predicted a cold night but T felt confident he would be warm enough in the garage with his sleeping bag. On our way back to the car we saw R and S in front of the VSB a little distance from the other S and E who were still there. S seemed to go back and forth between the two. R accepted a set of top and bottom long underwear, a fleece vest, and food. S said he didn’t need anything. Both S and R thanked us for the MacDonald’s gift cards.
Heading west we did not see anyone at Wawanesa and so we continued to Safeway at MacDonald, and to Subway and Tim Horton’s. At Subway we met S and C. and gave each a MacDonald’s and Shopper’s gift card. C was feeling the cold and so he understandably welcomed a sleeping bag, mat, gloves and a toque. Both accepted a package and some food. We also talked about what warming shelters would be open for the night. It was agreed that when extreme weather is forecast (cold or hot) a check the night before of the various warming (or cooling when appropriate) centres open for the day or night would be useful information. S said this information could be found online.
Our last stop together was Shopper’s on Dunbar, where we did not find anyone, before heading back to St Philip’s. Mary stopped by the 17th and Dunbar building to drop off leftover perishable food, keeping some aside for B. She then stopped by St. Helen’s to see B on her way home. B was resting in his sleeping bag and accepted the food.
We were fortunate to have good weather - even a bit of sun! Thirteen connections, plus leaving two extra packets for A’s wife and for J.
Neighbourhood Ministry Street Outreach Report for December 31st, 2022
New Year's Outreach Participants: Jane Davis, Mary Lymburner and Kate Mackin. Packages prepared by St. Philip’s.
Report by: Jane Davis
Mary, Kate and I met Suzi at St. Philips at around 9:30 am Saturday, December 31, 2022. Suzi provided us with large packages, sandwiches, eggs, bananas, a bag of Christmas chocolate bars, some packages of cookies, and Christmas cards and MacDonald gift cards. We also got two sleeping bags, two mats, lovely new winter gloves and long johns, a winter jacket, and a few other things. So we were well stocked. Thanks to Suzi for organizing all of this and to the parishioners for their generosity.
Our first stop was St. Helen's where we found B's sleeping gear. We left him a package and fresh food and some winter gloves.
We then travelled to the No Frills Mall at 4th and Highbury. We found T, A and a new fellow G, who are all housed. They all took food and A took a package for his wife as well. T and A took long sleeved shirts, and all took gift cards, gloves, and underwear. Andre also took a pair of jogging pants for his wife. All were in good spirits.
We then drove up Fourth to Vine and parked. We hiked up and down and looked around but did not spot anyone in that area.
We drove further down Fourth, past Granville Loop Park and parked on 5th at Granville. We hiked through the park and found S with his bike. He is homeless but has been to Carnegie and put in an application for housing. In the meantime, he took a sleeping bag, fleece, gloves, long johns, all the food offerings including a package of cookies and chocolate bar and gift card. He was digging into the food as we left. Although J had been camping at the underpass, he was no longer there. We walked around the park but did not see him anywhere. (Perhaps he did get to Kamloops?)
We then drove over to Wawanesa to see if we could see J or J but neither of them were there. It was about 11:45 when we got there so we were not sure if we were too early or too late, or if they are just not showing up these days. We next went back to the Granville area and parked on Fir. We did not find anyone in the VSB park.
We then headed back over to Granville and found L, a young fellow who is homeless. He took food, gift card, and gloves, but found S just off Granville on 10th. He took all the food offerings, gift card, underwear, and extra socks. We asked about R who is usually hanging out with S and S told us that he had not seen R for about a week. He thinks he may be looking after a friend who he believes may have overdosed. We then found M, a nice First Nations fellow sitting on a street corner around 11th Avenue. He was taking a break from binning and was happy to accept food, gift card, fleece jacket, gloves, and underwear. He is housed but said he was an alcoholic so he had to bin to supplement his income. We then walked back down Granville and over to the Library, down the back lane and over to Circle K. We found Aaron standing outside the Circle K opening doors for customers. He advised us that he had lost his job. He took food, gift card and gloves.
We walked around the corner onto Broadway heading west and found J sleeping in the doorway of the old Joey's Restaurant. Although he woke up for us, he was not talkative. He took food, gift card, gloves, mat, sleeping bag, fleece and winter jacket (he put the jacket on immediately and got into the sleeping bag and he asked for a mat which we went back to the car to get for him.
As it was 1:00 pm, we decided to finish up and head on down Broadway. Kate left us at this point as she lives close by and she took the mat to give to L. Mary and I headed west on Broadway and found S at the Tim's. He took food, gloves and long underwear. He said he was doing well.
We then travelled up to Dunbar and Mary returned the extra packages and clothing to St. Philips and I checked out Shoppers and London Drugs. Finding no one else, I returned home.
Although it was a quiet day, we found a few people who were new to us.
Thanks from Mary, Kate and Jane
The Christmas Luncheon at the Dunbar Apartments was a welcome return of a tradition. Enjoy the photo!
Volunteers provided food and presented a festive luncheon on Sat. Dec 17th. For more info or to get involved in the Neighbourhood Ministry, contact Joan Stewart at [email protected]
Joan Stewart sends her thanks to all the volunteers and donors involved:
"Dear volunteers and supporters of the Neighbourhood Ministry,
A massive thank-you for participating in set-up, food preparation, serving, and cleanup at the Saturday, December 17, Dunbar Apartments luncheon. Additional thanks to those who dropped off food items for the event. The luncheon was opened with a prayer by Deacon Karin Fulcher from St. John's Shaughnessy after having completed the marathon pancake-making role (62) with Patrick Stewart and Shirin Theophilus.
The residents then enjoyed turkey with homemade gravy and cranberry sauce, stuffing, ham, a variety of casseroles, coleslaw, sweet potatoes, pancakes and scrambled eggs, followed by desserts, baked goodies, eggnog and cranberry juice.
We were pleased to have two younger volunteers, one who had just celebrated her 16th birthday and one home for Christmas from university in Toronto. Both were again eagerly participating at the luncheon, handing out cards that included a handwritten message and a $10 Shoppers Drug Mart Gift Card from the Neighbourhood Ministry to the 50 residents.
Thank you, volunteers, for following flu and COVID protocols of safety, including being vaccinated, wearing disposable gloves and sanitized aprons, and being masked while on the premises. As we all continue to deal responsibly with the virus, we look forward to hosting more events at Dunbar in 2023.
Thank you all; we could not have done this without your help and support."
Neighbourhood Ministry Outreach Report for Saturday, December 3, 2022
By Janice Hope
On a sunny Saturday morning, Mary, Kate and I met Suzi at St. Philips to load up on supplies of oranges, sandwiches, hard boiled eggs, sleeping bags, mats and clothing. Many thanks to Suzi and the indoor team for their work.
The first stop was St. Helen’s where B was still resting in his sleeping bag on the porch. He took all the food offerings. At 4th Avenue and Highbury we didn’t find anyone waiting for us by the fence or inside the underground parking.
Moving on to 4th and Vine, we met P who assured us he was warm enough in his winter coat. He accepted some food and a package. W was in front of the Whole Foods entrance and took some food but declined any offers of clothing. Across the street in front of Shoppers we found R sitting on some cardboard covered with only a sheet; we couldn’t determine if he was shivering because of the cold or due to another physiological reasons. He was a bit more comfortable after we gave him a fleece jacket, sleeping bag, mat, gloves, hat and some food.
We continued eastward to the Granville Street Bus Loop where we met a woman sitting near some bushes. She was new to us and was not comfortable giving her name. She also said she did not need any food or clothing, but was interested in finding housing. Mary also told her about Kits showers. Under the bridge off-ramp there were some abandoned items but no people. This is where we had found J and J until quite recently. Just up from the 100 we came across a tent, called out our greetings but received no answer We left a package at its front entrance. There was another tent set up across the street from the western edge of the Granville Loop Park. Again we called out, but there was no answer, so we left a packet.
Kate is familiar with Holy Trinity and suggested we take a look as there are some areas around and under the building where people sometimes find shelter. But there was no one there today.
G was located at 13th and Granville, outside Shoppers Drug Mart. We gave him a sleeping bag and mat as he is having some challenges with his current housing and sometimes sleeps outside. We found no one else on Granville, nor in the lanes, nor in the VSB Park.
J was waiting for us at Wawanesa. He accepted some eggs and said he needed a pair of size 13 boots or shoes as his current ones are falling apart. S was set up outside Subway at Broadway and Balaclava. He accepted a package, a pair of pants, tuque and a waterproof shell. We briefly talked about housing and his application, encouraging him to check on its status often.
Up the hill to Shoppers on Dunbar we met J in front of the store and R (different R) by the parking lot. Both accepted some food and J also received a package. Both J and R are housed.
At this point I parted from Mary and Kate who continued on to Kerrisdale where they met J again with J. Mary had brought a large coat for J but, as she suspected, it was too small. J is requesting a 2XL winter coat. They did give him a sleeping bag. He said he is sleeping on the pavement and would like a foam mat on our next outing.
11 connections made, plus a couple of packets left at tents.
Neighbourhood Ministry Outreach Report for Saturday, October 29, 2022
By Mary Lymburner
Steph and I met at St. Philip’s where Suzi and Dorothy provided us with sandwiches (which were made by Mira), oranges, hard boiled eggs, and packets. Suzi also had camping gear, gloves, toques, some other clothing, and the carts all organized for us.
We drove past the 10th and Sasamat corner, but saw no one there. We left a packet and fresh food for B on top of his box on St. Helen’s porch. B was not there. Rev. Liz Hamel saw us and came out to say hello.
At the fence at 4th and Highbury, we found T, B and A. All are housed, and all seemed fine, except I noticed that T’s glasses were quite badly broken. All took food, and A took some extra for his wife. A also took a jacket and hat for his wife, and gloves for both of them.
At 4th and Vine, we found P at his usual spot on the NE corner, selling Megaphones and the Hope in Shadows calendars. He seemed well. He took food and gloves. We continued east on 4th and noted some belongings under the bridge ramp. We parked on 5th and walked over. J was not there, but her mat and sign were in the spot where we usually see her, so we left food there. J’s hammock was still in place, surrounded completely by a couple of tarps. We called out, but did not get an answer, so we left some food.
On the west side of the Granville Loop Park, we noticed a man sitting on a bench with several large garbage bags beside him. We walked over. This was J. I think we have met him before. The bags contained the proceeds of binning. He looked well and warmly dressed. He is homeless and said that his blanket was wet. He was very happy to take a sleeping bag as well as some food.
On the east side of the Granville Loop Park, we noticed a big tent covered with a tarp. We called out. J and S were inside. They had a good mattress but needed a sleeping bag which we provided. They also took food, a toque, and gloves.
As we were running a bit late, we skipped the 7th and Fir corner and went straight to Fir and 10th. At the VSB Park we found R and S. They are homeless. They both took food and hand sanitizers. R took a hat, scarf, and gloves.
We found no one on Broadway by the McDonald’s, nor at the Circle K on Hemlock, nor in the lanes around that block. We walked down Granville to 12th but did not see anyone. On our way back to the car we walked west on 11th. On 11th just west of Granville we found a man sitting with some belongings. He accepted our offer of food. He was not very warmly dressed and was wearing sandals over bulky socks, despite the cold and rain. We gave him food and some warm clothing, gloves, fleece jacket, and waterproof overpants. We also had a large size pair of shoes, likely too big for him, but with the socks he seemed to think they were good. He did not wish to give his name and was a bit incoherent.
At this point, after 12:30, Steph had to leave to get to her class.
From there I went west on Broadway to Wawanesa. Again, J was not there. I also did not see anyone at the Safeway or at Tim Horton’s. I stopped at Shoppers on Dunbar on the way back to St. Philip’s, but no one was there either. I dropped off the carts and other leftover supplies.
Neighbourhood Ministry Street Outing Report for October 1st
By Janice Hope
Joanne and Janice met at 9:30 at St. Philip’s to pick up food, packages, sleeping mats, sleeping bags, socks and toiletries. Many thanks to Heather for preparing the sandwiches and to her husband for delivering them – and to Suzi for preparing all of the packages and additional supplies.
Our first stop was 4th Avenue and Highbury where we met T who seemed to be in good spirits and accepted a package and some food. From there we travelled up 4th and Vine where we found P at his corner in front of Whole Foods. He was his usual cheery self and was happy to receive a package and some food. Across the street in front of Shoppers we spotted M and approached him attempting to engage with him; he said hello but no thanks to talking. Also on the Shoppers’ corner, there was a makeshift campsite with cardboard and other belongings. We left a packet and other food there.
We continued to move east to the Granville Street overpass where we found J. She requested a scarf to keep her neck warm, an additional sleeping mat and sleeping bag to double up with the one she currently has in order to keep during the colder nights. J had been using a compass card which had expired and she was requesting the card be re-loaded for another month. After we had completed our visits. Joanne returned to J with a re-loaded Compass Card, for 1 month in 1 zone, to be paid for from the Ministry's funds. Joanne also brought a sleeping bag with a plastic bag to cover it and a sleeping mat as earlier requested. J was happy to receive these items and was appreciative of Joanne’s extra efforts. J was also stationed under the bridge in a suspended sleeping bag. He was very talkative and happy to receive a package, underwear, hand sanitizer and some food. He requested a small toothbrush, travel size with its own case. We also gave him one of the information cards but explained that the dates listed were not current
We didn’t find anyone at 7th and Fir or the VSB so we continued on to run into A in front of the library. While we were giving him a package and some food he told us that he had been at his current job for several weeks and things were going well.
On our way back to the car we found R, S and S at the VSB. S received some underwear, food and a package; S some food and a package and R took a package and some underwear. R also requested a tarp as he gave his previous one to S to cover his belongings.
Heading west we didn’t find anyone along Broadway at Wawanesa or Safeway. S was at his new location outside the Dollar Store on Broadway at Carnarvon and he was happy to accept a package and pb & j sandwich.
On our way back to St. Philip’s we stopped by St. Helen’s looking for B whom we didn’t find but left a package with his belongings.
Ten connections in total.
Neighbourhood Ministry Street Outreach Report for August 6, 2022
Participants: Janice Hope & Steph Martens Packages prepared by: St. Philip’s
Report by: Steph Martens
Janice and Steph met Suzi at St. Philips at 9:30 am, where we packed sandwiches, eggs, bananas, packages, carts, clothing, and a few gift cards to McDonald’s and Safeway.
We then headed to St. Helen’s, where we met B around the side of the church. We gave him a sandwich, banana and water. He also took a pair of size 12 shoes, some extra socks, a t-shirt and a long sleeved shirt. He seemed well, and this was the most prolonged chat either Janice or Steph had had with B previously.
Then we headed toward the fence at Highbury, where we met T and B. T mentioned it was his birthday on August 7, so we signed his birthday ‘card,’ which looked like an old boogie board. Both took packages and lunches, and seemed well. We headed up 4th and saw P at his usual place, giving him a sandwich and package. Farther on, we saw W in front of Whole Foods and chatted for a minute. He seemed happy conversing. He took a hat, food package, water, and a Safeway gift card. Then we saw M in front of Shoppers Drug Mart, but he didn’t want to engage. We walked a bit farther and saw T and K (who was new to us). K took a package, food, socks, and underwear. She was grateful, and we told her we are out every Saturday around the area. She was trying to get into housing but was having difficulty. T also took a package, but nothing else. Further along 4th, we saw L, who took toiletries, food, a long sleeved shirt and a McDonald’s gift card.
We got back in the cars and headed up 4th, where we saw the girl under the Granville Bridge (name unknown). Steph had brought a backpack for her, but it wasn’t the right kind. She would like a more oversized backpack (like a multi-day backpacking pack). We told her we would get the word out and see if we could find something. She didn’t take anything but seemed friendly. On our way back to the car, a lovely woman approached and asked about our connection with the girl under the bridge. We informed her about the Neighbourhood Ministry and what we do each week.
We headed to Fir, where we met E in his usual spot and gave him a t-shirt, package, and food. Then we found B (new to us) along the back lane behind McDonald’s. We gave him an undershirt, package, socks, a sandwich, egg and a banana.
We headed to Circle K and found A, who took a sandwich and a package. We talked a bit about jobs; he recently lost his because it gave him migraines. While in the parking lot, we met J, who was also new to us. He is currently unhoused, and we had a long conversation about his situation. He said he needed a phone. Is there the possibility of getting J a phone? He said he would be at the Circle K parking lot next Saturday at 12:30-ish. We gave him food and a package.We then headed up Broadway and found Rat Granville and 11th. We gave him a package and lunch, and he mentioned he was looking for a tarp. The WANM had given him one previously, but he gave that to someone who needed it. He took a mat as well. Is it possible to get R a tarp? Next bench to R was M and another man whose name we missed. Lots of chats this Saturday! M talked to Janice quite a bit, and his friend took an undershirt. They both got sandwiches and bananas, and the friend got a package.
Then to Wawanesa where C was sitting, and eventually J came. C got a t-shirt, two pairs of shorts, package, sandwich, extra bananas, underwear; and James took underwear, undershirt, a package, sandwich, egg and banana. C was especially grateful for what we gave him.
Just as we were leaving Wawanesa, a woman named K approached us. She knew of our connection too and she lives in the building across the street from J. She chatted with us about her observations about J’s situation and gave us her phone number. We have provided this to Joan Stewart, who will follow up with her.
At this point it was getting quite late. We drove past Safeway and Tim’s on Broadway but didn’t see anyone. We then split up. Janice headed back to St Philip’s, while Steph went to London Drugs in Kerrisdale to deliver packages to J and J. J said to say ‘hi’ to everyone.
It was quite an eventful Saturday, and we gave away all 16 packages. Lots of connections and opportunities to help.
Neighbourhood Ministry report for July 9th
By Jane Davis
I met up with Suzi and Sophia at St. Philips at around 9:30 on Saturday, July 9. It was a lovely day! Suzi and Sophia had everything ready and we loaded up Suzi's car with wonderful packages (I added five more left over from St. Helen's outing the previous weekend). We had bananas, boiled eggs, sandwiches, extra muffins and banana bread (left over from a previous week), water, shirts, shoes, blanket, mats, underwear and shorts. Thanks to Suzi and Sophia for organizing everything and thanks to the parishioners for their donations.
We headed up to St. Helen's to see B. He was in his usual spot at the side of the building. He was quite chatty and accepted everything that we had to offer! We offered him a mat which he initially said "yes" to but then changed his mind.
We then drove over to 4th and Highbury fence where we found T, B and R. They were chatty and happy to see us. They took everything offered, including underwear and extra socks. R also took a pair of shoes that fit him well. We hiked over to J's car (apparently he has got the car up and running again) and found him relaxing in the rear. He was glad to accept all the food offerings. We reminded them it was Khatsahlano Days on 4th and there might be some good entertainment for them.
As it was Khatsahlano Days, of course, we could not drive up 4th so we tackled the very congested Broadway. We eventually made our way over and down Burrard back to Fourth. From there, we drove around Granville Loop Park and saw that the young woman from the week before was still sleeping under the bridge so we circled around and parked. We walked down to the underpass and found the same. She is still very quiet and does not offer up any information but is very happy to accept food. Sophia gave her a huge chocolate bar that she and her mum had found in the St. Philip's stash! I also gave her a pair of capris.
Next, we travelled over to 7th and Fir and circled around but not seeing anyone we went up to the VSB Park. We loaded up and headed over to find E. He got up, accepted all the food we offered and we chatted for a bit. He was a little quiet but said he might be heading over to the MPA building in a while. We walked over to Granville St. and found L sleeping outside the Starbucks which is presently closed for renos. He generally hangs out in the Commercial Drive area. He took all the food but he declined a shirt which we offered. He did not share much information so we didn't get his full story. There was no one hanging out in the lane that day. We hiked up Granville St. to see if we could find the fellow whom I had previously seen sitting in front of the Telus building on the east side of the street, but he was not there.
We drove over to Wawanesa and found J lying down chatting to one of his neighbours. The neighbour chatted to us for a few minutes asking about the Ministry and which churches were involved. He is Anglican and was interested in finding an Anglican Church in the area. He had previously attended St. Helen's.
We headed up Broadway and found S outside the Shoppers just east of Tim's. We dropped off food, a t-shirt and underwear and he showed us his arm again. It is still pretty sore looking, but he is able to play his guitar now.
We then headed back up to St. Philip's and split up. I was going to head up to Kerrisdale to find J. Suzi had already chatted to him at least once or twice during the past week as she lives very close to the Kerrisdale Community Centre and she told me he might be at the London Drugs at 42nd Avenue. I drove up Dunbar (found no one at the Shoppers there) and up to 43rd and parked. I hiked around the community centre and then over to London Drugs. Sure enough, he was there as was Jason (whom we used to see at Shoppers on Dunbar). They were both happy to see me. Luckily, I had brought two bags of provisions, enough for the two of them, including underwear, extra socks and a t-shirt for J.
Our outing was a little quieter than normal probably because the fellows keep clear of the festivals, but it was a pleasant day and the people we met were generally in good spirits. It is always nice to have Sophia join us on our outings.
Thanks to all the loyal donors from Jane, Suzi and Sophia.
Report of the June 11th Outing
by Rhona Thornton
I met Suzi and Reagan at St Philip’s at 9.30. It was Regan’s first outing, and she was shadowing in order to learn more about what we do. We were very happy to have her. We loaded up my car with clothing, underwear, camping mats, packages, sandwiches, fruit and eggs. Thanks to the parishioners of St Philip’s for their generosity.
We headed off in two cars. Suzi went to see B at St Helen’s and Reagan and I went to the fence where we saw B, A and M. B and A are housed; M is not. They all took an assortment of food, clothing and toiletries and were grateful for everything.
Next we went to 4th and Vine where we saw P. There is an article about him in this month’s Megaphone so Suzi and I both bought a copy. He was happy to receive the food on offer. Then we saw W in his wheelchair outside Whole Foods. Unfortunately, he has a lot of neck pain which he said was a result of some medical procedure. He is housed and was grateful to accept food and a pair of underwear.
At this point Suzi had to leave us as she had another commitment. Reagan and I drove along 4th. Under the Granville bridge Reagan spotted a woman in a sleeping bag so we parked at the bus loop and walked down. Her name is A. She was quiet but very pleasant and was happy with the camping mat and food that we gave her. She is unhoused but is not interested in looking for housing at the moment.
We drove past the 7th and Fir overpass and the Windsor plywood parking lot but didn’t see anyone so we headed up to Fir and 10th. We saw E’s belongings at the usual spot but he wasn’t there. We left him a package. In the alley behind McDonald’s we saw L and R who were both happy with the food, clothing and toiletries that we gave them. We gave R food for R too. R also took a mat as his and R’s belongings had recently been stolen. He talked about how it was sad that H had passed away. I asked him if he had seen R recently and he said yes, that he had seen him downtown. He mentioned that he and R are the only Ojibwas in town that he knows. I also had a good chat with L about how tough things have been for him over the last few months. He is interested in housing but it wasn’t clear who he had been in contact with. He doesn’t want to go downtown so I encouraged him to go to MPA and gave him a laminated card. While I was talking to L, a man came by asking for socks so Reagan gave him a package. He didn’t stop so we didn’t get his name.
On our way back to the car we saw that E was back so we gave him some of the fresh food. There was another man with him, L, whom I had met once before. He didn’t want anything but was happy to chat. He is unhoused and isn’t sure that he wants to find somewhere at this point.
At Wawanesa we saw J who took food for both himself and J. He also asked us to ask Joan to call J which I did. Next we saw S outside the Subway on Broadway at Balaclava. I hadn’t seen him in a while so it was nice to see him. As always, he was very grateful to receive the fresh food and package. He also took a baseball cap. We didn’t see anyone outside the Shoppers on Dunbar so we returned the leftover supplies to St Philip’s.
Overall, it was a very good outing. We handed out most of the food and quite a bit of clothing, the t-shirts and underwear were especially popular. As always, we had interesting conversations with many of the folks whom we met. I am impressed with how open some of them are with us and how they talk to us about topics such as their drug and alcohol use, the time they have spent in prison, medical problems that they have, their experiences living on the streets and the struggles that they have had with finding housing. It is an honour that we are able to have these conversations with them even if it is the first time that they have met a specific volunteer. I believe that the reputation that the WANM has on the streets has built a level of trust that is greater than any one individual might experience.
I was very happy to have Reagan’s company and help. She was a natural at spotting people, interacting with them, and making sure that everybody was offered all of the food and clothing items. We saw 15 people.
Report of the May 14 Outing
Once a month at St Philip’s, we fill 15-20 Ziplock bags full of non-perishable food and socks. All of this food is donated by parishioners which means that we never need to shop for groceries. We also receive donations of seasonal clothing, camping supplies and McDonald’s gift cards, which are much appreciated. We have many dedicated indoor and outdoor team volunteers who carry out this ministry.
On May 14, Joanne, Suzi and Sophia were the outdoor team. Sophia and Nora prepared the packages, Katie made the sandwiches, and Joanne provided the eggs and fruit. It was a successful outing. In addition to the regulars, they met two new men whom they told about our Ministry and about our volunteers out every Saturday morning. Over time new people become regulars who trust that we will always show up. One of our regulars had just had all of his belongings stolen; sadly this is not an infrequent occurrence. Fortunately, the out team was well stocked so we were able to provide him with plenty of camping supplies and clothing thanks to our donors at St Philips.
A Heartfelt Thank You from the Neighbourhood Ministry and Our Friends on the Streets
It has been a hard, cold, wet winter for the folks who live on the streets. Thanks to your donations of camping supplies and clothing, we have been able to make them a bit more comfortable. The McDonald's gift cards are very much appreciated as they give people somewhere warm and dry to go to get out of the cold. The non-perishable food which you give is essential. When St Philip’s volunteers go out, all of the groceries that we give has been donated by our parishioners. Thank you!
Camping Supplies Needed
As the weather gets colder and wetter, we are looking for donations of the following to the lidded plastic tubs on the porch or the baskets at the back of the church:
Thank you for the sleeping bags!
Our friends on the streets struggle to stay warm. The best sleeping bags are synthetic as they dry out quickly. You heard our plea for donations of $50 or more to the Neighbourhood Ministry to purchase a sleeping bag that we can give to the people who need one so badly. Still want to help? Contact Rhona Thornton, St Philip's Parish liaison at [email protected]
Thanks to all our donors who make this ministry possible!
Mission Statement of the Westside Anglican Neighbourhood Ministry
Reviewed by the Board of Management: Nov 23, 2021
The Neighbourhood Ministry was started in 2007 when a small group of concerned church members decided that they would like to support the people who are unhoused on the West Side. The response that they got from many was “there aren’t any homeless people on the Westside”. But then these same people started to look around them: there’s someone outside Shoppers on Dunbar, and at the corner of 4th and Vine, etc. They realised that the issue wasn’t that there weren’t any unhoused people in our neighbourhood, it was just that they didn’t SEE them. I believe that that is the same, to a greater or lesser degree, for all of us. As we go about our busy lives, the homeless people become almost invisible and I’m sure that sometimes they feel that way too.
The Mobile Care Unit (MCU) continues to provide bi-monthly medical and social services at St. Augustine’s, Marpole, 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm on Thursdays. Dr. Stephanie operates the medical services side of the MCU, which offers basic medical services (wound care, diagnosis, preventative care, assistance with disability applications, and referrals for long term or specialty care). More than 15 people were served by the MCU in June, with services ranging from disability, diabetic and dietician information assistance to housing, CPP, tax claims, birth certificate and ID applications.
How is the Neighbourhood Ministry Funded?
The Westside Anglicans Neighbourhood Ministry (WANM) is a collaborative effort of four Westside Anglican parishes (St. Anselm’s, St. Helen’s, St. John’s Shaughnessy and St. Philip’s), all under the Diocese of New Westminster.
Each church contributes $2,500 annually to the WANM. St. Philip's contribution comes out of the Outreach Budget. The rest of the funding for WANM comes from grants. In 2018 and 2019 this Ministry received a Care and Share grant. In 2020 it received a grant from the City of Vancouver and recently it was awarded $10,000 from the Union Gospel Mission's Christian Leader's Fund. The WANM expenses include, but are not limited to, staffing (Rev'd Liz Hamel worked as Program and Volunteers Manager from Fall 2020 to June 2021), office supplies, sleeping bags and other camping gear, Christmas Outreach, individual support (eg moving-in expenses for a client) and funding for meal programs at the Dunbar Apartments. The food supplies that go out every week are collected by each church individually and mainly donated by their parishioners. St Philip’s has also maintained its own separate Neighbourhood Ministry account funded by Outreach in order to purchase items we may need, but in 2023 the funding for these purchases will come from the WANM.
The accounting for the WANM is on St Philip’s books. When looking at the St Philip's financial reports, you will see the WANM and the NM reflected in two areas: these are two different pots of money.
The Dunbar Apartments Christmas Luncheon 2021
The Dunbar Apartments at W. 17th & Dunbar are run by Coast Mental Health. On Dec. 18, thirteen Neighbourhood Ministry volunteers and staff put on the huge annual Christmas Luncheon at the Dunbar Apartments, the first since 2019.
The residents enjoyed turkey with homemade gravy, stuffing, ham, a variety of casseroles, a myriad of pancakes, bacon and scrambled eggs, followed by a surfeit of desserts, baked goodies, eggnog and cranberry juice.
Volunters handed out cards with a handwritten message for the 52 residents at Dunbar. They also received a $10 Shoppers Drug Mart Gift Card enclosed in their Christmas card from the Neighbourhood Ministry.
This luncheon was the first allowed to be hosted by an outside group at Coast Mental Health since 2019, held under strictly followed health protections.
Joan Stewart, Co-Chair of the Board of Management, reported that the residents expressed their gratitude for what they termed “The best meal we’ve had all year!”
With careful distancing in place, many stayed to chat and provide the Neighbourhood Ministry team with an update on their lives.
Photos of WANM volunteers taken by WANM volunteers. Stock photos of men: colour photo by Clay LeConey and black & white photo by Matt Collamer available without licence on Unsplash