2022 – May
A Message from Carmen
I held my daughter as she wept, drowning in depression. “It won’t always be this way,” I whispered to her over and over again. “It feels like it will,” she sobbed back. “I know you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I can. I will hold onto hope for you when you can’t.”
At Kelowna’s Gospel Mission, our staff and volunteers often meet people when they can’t see hope. When they are overwhelmed by a darkness that seems endless.
Our job is to have unshakable hope on their behalf. To see the light despite the darkness, and to ever-call people towards that light. One excruciating step after another. Together.
That conversation with my daughter was a year ago. I’m happy to share that the light did eventually dawn, and that she is thriving now, free from the darkness. This is why we need a loving community to surround us, because none of us were ever meant to hold on to hope alone. We hold hope together.
Our community of hope includes all of you who give and pray for our work. You enable us to go and bring light to where it is desperately needed.
Thank you for your loyalty and resolute compassion!
For the love of all,
Finding My Safe Space
Heart pounding. Hands over his ears. Yelling at everyone to be quiet… This was Ted not too long ago. But if you met him today, you would see a different man.
As a young child, he suffered a significant head injury, which ended up affecting his memory. It’s made life tough.
Holding down a job has been one of the hardest things. He’s had 60 jobs in his lifetime, and in April, he celebrated his 60th birthday. As an adult, Ted has always struggled with severe anxiety, especially in large groups.
When he was out of work, he lost his home. He tried staying in emergency shelters on and off, but it was too much for him. “Being around a lot of people and noise is really stressful and puts my system into panic mode,” says Ted.
As Ted has aged, sleeping outside is too hard on his body. For a while, he self-medicated to cope with the anxiety, but it was doing more harm than good. “I decided to quit cold turkey.”
“I am thankful to be part of this community. I appreciate the routines and the work it has given me”—Ted
“Then I decided to come back to the Mission and try again,” says Ted. “I told my caseworker about my extreme anxiety and he helped me get into Momentum Ministries. So, I’ve been here for five or six months now.”
Ted loves the structure and purpose the Momentum program has given him. He is gaining new life skills all the time. Recently, he started budgeting for food and clothing, which is something he’d never done before. Working consistently with the same caseworker has also proved to be very beneficial.
Ted’s caseworker, Chris, has been through it all with him. After Ted spent so much of his life feeling like an outsider, Chris knew how important it was to take the time to really understand where Ted was coming from. He also helped Ted learn a necessary life skill for all of us: how to truly appreciate and find value in oneself.
Even though Ted has had to overcome a lot of challenges, he has also learned to make the most of his strengths. He is artistic and incredibly hardworking. This winter he single-handedly took on shoveling snow around Kelowna’s Gospel Mission and keeping the grounds free of garbage.
It means everything to him to have this support. Everyone here at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission believes that Ted has a wonderful part to play in this world. And with your compassionate support, we’ll continue to help him see his value, as he finds his unique place in it.
You Helped Us Exceed Our Winter-Walk Goal!
There was an amazing turnout this year for our annual Strides to End Homelessness event on March 5th. We want to say thank you to everyone from the greater Kelowna community who came out in support!
Folks from all over the city joined us for either a 2K or 5K walk, or 10K run to raise money for emergency shelter, programs and housing. This walk is especially powerful as it brings together supporters and the people we serve, walking alongside each other to make strides to end, not only poverty, but the stigma of homelessness.
Emergency shelters and transitional homes often act as a lifeline. The services provided in these spaces include meals, shelter, outreach, individual wellness plans, and more.
At the end of the walk, we broke bread together, enjoying a chili meal served from our new food truck! We saw support from many churches, businesses, and families, and 42 volunteers gave of their time to make the big event happen. Together, everyone helped raise over $54,000!
THANK YOU to all who came out and participated! You showed individuals experiencing homelessness in our city that they aren’t alone, and there is hope for a better future.
How Riley is Making a Difference
So many passionate volunteers and staff are making a positive difference in the community!
Riley, a 2nd year dental student from the University of Alberta, is volunteering at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission Dental Clinic. The Dental Clinic provides dental service for eligible low-income individuals, families, and seniors, with reduced rates based upon net family income.
“I went into dentistry because I know so many people can’t afford it—I’m really passionate about providing free care to people in need,” shares Riley. “I’m so happy to be here. When I graduate, my plan is to go into general dentistry to help as many people as I can. I hope to continue volunteering as a dentist and doing everything I can to help.”
Thank you Riley!
To learn more about Kelowna’s Gospel Mission’s Dental Program and our other life-changing programs, visit kelownagospelmission.ca/services/