“Are we winning?!” is a question that I ask each day. How is the day going? Is my team sinking or swimming? I ask it lightly, but it’s a heavy and vulnerable question.
Our mission is to feed, shelter and care for people experiencing homelessness, serving them with the love of Jesus. It’s to care for the whole person: mind, spirit, and body.
How would we know if we were “winning”? At Kelowna’s Gospel Mission, we care for the whole person. We utilize Harvard University’s Human Flourishing Index to measure five areas: happiness and life satisfaction, mental and physical health, meaning and purpose, character and virtue, and close social relationships. Then, we add our own sixth area: a sense of divine love and connection.
What you read in our newsletter are stories from people moving from human suffering to human flourishing. Those stories don’t happen by accident. Everything we do here, from hiring, developing programs, measuring impact, it’s all to move people from suffering to flourishing.
That’s why we shift our programs from meeting basic needs to addressing psychosocial and spiritual needs. It’s also why we have a garden and gym equipment that residents can sign out, and why we have arts and crafts nights, and why I sign expense requests for ice cream and bingo dabbers.
Because our work is about more than getting people housed. It’s about transforming lives for the better. And we can’t do that without you!
For the love of all,
We wanted to provide an update on Wayne, a 69-year-old gentleman who has been with us since our Bay Avenue shelter first opened. Like many of our residents, his story begins with a tragedy.
Before he came to us, he had been renting a place with a close friend. Without any warning, his friend suddenly passed away. The sky-high cost of living in Kelowna meant that Wayne couldn’t find housing on his own, so he had no choice but to camp on the street. But an even larger challenge was coming his way.
Kind, compassionate, and funny, Wayne was diagnosed with dementia a few years back—a terrible deteriorating condition that he watched his father suffer from before he sadly passed away.
Fortunately, it was around this time that Wayne discovered Kelowna’s Gospel Mission. Our staff have been doing whatever they can to help him access the care he needs. Luke, his caseworker, has been a godsend when it comes to navigating the system and setting him up for success. More than anything else, he appreciates the way our staff treats residents like him.
As Wayne’s condition began to worsen, he set his hopes on moving into a care home, so he could receive help from nurses—but he’d been on a waitlist for a very long time.
Today, I’m beyond thrilled to tell you that he’s finally been offered a spot at the Cottonwoods Care Centre!
When we dropped him off at his new home, we thought he’d be ecstatic. But Wayne looked sad and said, “I’m going to miss Warren.” His good friend and fellow resident Warren, used to take care of him while they were braving the cold, cruel streets. We told him this isn’t the end, but the beginning of a new life.
When we left Wayne at the care centre, he was smiling and laughing with a new friend he had just made.
Our shelter was a better place with him in it. And now he will bless the Cottonwoods Care Centre with his charm and Cheshire-cat-like grin. He is a lovely human being and it’s been a pleasure to be involved in his life.
Thank you so much for providing Wayne with life-changing support. Your ongoing compassion is making such a difference for people when they’re going through a difficult time!
We are incredibly grateful to the amazing Telus team for returning this year to organize a heartwarming BBQ and provide essential kitchen assistance to our team and residents as part of the TELUS Days of Giving activities.
Your team’s energy and enthusiasm were truly remarkable. With beaming smiles and unwavering compassion, you served our residents with a level of dedication that left us inspired and deeply grateful. Your presence brought comfort, warmth, and hope to those we serve.
We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to each member of the Telus team for dedicating their time and effort to support our mission.
A special thank you to a group of young hockey players from RINK Hockey Academy Kelowna. We applaud this team for their selflessness during their time volunteering at our shelter!
Not only are you excelling on the ice, but you’re also scoring big off the rink by giving your time and energy to those in need. It’s amazing to see your commitment to helping others—a true testament to your character and compassion.
We hope you keep up the incredible work, and continue to be a shining example of teamwork and kindness. You’re making a positive impact that goes far beyond the game. Way to go, team!