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2020 – July

A Farewell From Randy

It’s hard to believe that this will be my last letter to you. When I first came to Kelowna in 1993 as a youth pastor at Willow Park Church, I didn’t know what my life’s work would accomplish — though I knew that it was my duty to serve God.

It’s been an incredible ride. During my 19 years at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission, I’ve witnessed thousands of people get back on their feet. Every time a person is helped our city becomes a better place.

I am beyond thankful for the chance to serve my community. Despite the new challenges of COVID-19, I know I’m leaving Kelowna’s Gospel Mission and my team in good hands. With your steady support and God’s guidance, their remarkable work will continue.

Once more, I’d like to say thank you. Your unwavering kindness and compassion over the years has truly meant the world to me.

  • Randy Benson Executive Director

When Times Were Tough

Your Generosity was the Missing Ingredient

When people think of homeless shelters, they often picture addicts at rock bottom with burnt bridges and nowhere left to go. It’s hard for most of us to imagine having a full-time job one day and asking to stay at an emergency shelter the next.

But in November of 2019, that was Scott’s reality.

Scott grew up in a small town in BC near Rock Creek. At age 14, he ventured out on his own, but he was young, without support, and eventually, he ended up on the street.

When he got older, Scott moved to Vancouver, hoping to find more resources. But when he got there, he found something else: drugs. “All my friends were doing it, and it was something to do,” Scott said.

After falling in with the wrong crowd, Scott had to work hard to get his life on track. And not only did he succeed in leaving drugs behind, but he was also happy to have his own place.

For 20 years, he worked as a general labourer in Vancouver. But after a potential apprenticeship fell through and his career stalled, he moved to Kelowna to find work as a roofer.

That’s when life took an unpredictable turn.

The friend he had been living with decided to move to Prince George at the same time his roofing job ended. Scott couldn’t afford rent on his own.

It was then that he turned to Kelowna’s Gospel Mission.

“The only thing I was able to do in a kitchen was install the plumbing. But thanks to the staff, I now have a new skill set and another reference on my resume.”—Scott

When Scott arrived at the shelter, his biggest fear as a recovered addict was falling back into bad habits. But the programs at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission kept him busy and gave him the chance to learn new skills.

Tamara, the cooking coordinator, invited him into the kitchen to show him the ropes — and he loved it.

“I enjoy it, and I now have another skill set,” Scott said. “Working in the kitchen keeps me busy and keeps my mind off the drugs.”

With the help of his caseworker, Scott has moved to Penticton and is now working full time. He wrote to tell us that he could not be more grateful to donors like you and to Kelowna’s Gospel Mission.

At the lowest point of his life, you gave him an incredible gift: a place to live, food to eat, and a lifelong skill that brings him joy every day.

You can help others like Scott reclaim their lives by donating today!

Keeping You Up to Date During COVID-19

Since the outbreak of coronavirus, many things have changed. In these uncertain times, a number of our programs have been adapted or suspended to safeguard the health of our staff, volunteers and guests.

After closing our drop-in centre to the public, we’ve taken great strides to ensure our community’s needs are still being met. Today, our Mobile Outreach Team has doubled in size to provide essential services to Kelowna’s most vulnerable population. Our enhanced program now allows outreach workers to be available 13 hours a day, every day.

To reduce traffic at the shelter, we’re now meeting people on the street to hand out meals and food hampers across the city.

Today, we’re more grateful for community support than ever.

Thank you for stepping up and finding different ways to support people struggling to survive this crisis. Please know that it is only through your contributions that we can continue this vital work in Kelowna.

Why Volunteering Is Important to Nathan

Today we’d like to recognize Nathan Matis, owner and realtor of Flex Realty, for his incredible contributions to Kelowna’s Gospel Mission.

“I decided to volunteer for a few reasons. As a member of the community, I wanted to invest in my hometown. And as a Christian, I believe we are called to serve others; to love them as we love ourselves. 

Today especially, I am reminded that we are all in this together and we need to look beyond ourselves. 

“I chose Kelowna’s Gospel Mission because I know this organization is making a difference — I know I am making a difference.”—Nathan Matis

Consider donating today.