Letter From our Executive Director

Hi friend,

This year, the world has been learning about the toll that social isolation can have on our mental and emotional health.

What people may not realize: this is what everyday life is like when you’re visibly homeless— untouched, avoided, and distanced from.

Now we can relate to feeling secluded. We know that kind of isolation has a dramatically negative effect on our well-being.

The people we serve at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission live on the margins of our community. People avoid eye-contact with them, and sometimes, they even cross the street to avoid getting too close to them. 

COVID-19 has done a lot of damage to our world. So let’s squeeze something good out of it, wherever we can. Let’s become a little more empathetic to those who live their lives untouched, avoided, and distanced from. And hopefully, this empathy will lead us to more kindness and compassion for everyone we meet.

For the love of all,

 

Carme Rempel
Executive Director, Kelowna’s Gospel Mission

 

Finding Friends, Family & Faith
At Kelowna’s Gospel Mission

One of the lowest moments of my life came earlier this year, when I first realized I couldn’t pay rent. Just like everyone else, I was trying to survive during COVID-19, but my money was running out fast.

I never imagined that I’d be in this situation.

My name is Perry and I’m 43. I was raised by my mother in Newfoundland. I never really knew my father, he left when my mom was pregnant with my sister. Although money was tight, I had a good childhood. I liked school … I did pretty well there.

Then after graduation, I worked on long-liners, doing offshore fishing and harvesting shrimp. Fishing was my passion. But after 10 years, the industry slowed down. Before I knew it, I was out of a job.

I miss fishing every day. That’s where my heart is. I’d go back if the money was there.

I found a good job framing houses in Kelowna. But after a year, I had a run of bad luck. Working construction is hard on the knees. Eventually, I got surgery on one of them. I needed surgery on the other one, too. But before I could get the operation, my employer lost his contract.

Without warning, I was laid off and I had to live off my savings.

I was feeling depressed and I knew deep down that I needed to put God first in my life again. I wanted to go home, but the pandemic made that impossible. When I didn’t have another $1,200 for rent, I called Kelowna’s Gospel Mission and was told, “We have a bed for you, why don’t you come down and register. It’s yours if you want it.”

“My faith is strong again, and I thank God for everything good in my life.”—Perry

I’m glad I did. Since then, my life has turned around. I never expected to be here, but everything is falling into place. From the moment I walked in, I was welcomed with open arms. And the hospitality I was shown was unreal.

Thanks to Kelowna’s Gospel Mission, I’ve been offered a job in a temporary winter shelter as an overnight worker. That’s huge for me. I can make an income and learn a new skill that will help me get out of construction. In fact, I’m renting a room and getting back on my feet.

I thank God every day for the connections I’ve made with other people here. It was there for me in my time of need, and for that I’m forever grateful.

From House to Home
Your Gifts Make Our Thrift Store Possible

Our Thrift Store means a lot to so many in our community.

Recently, a young family came to the Thrift Store for support. Although they couldn’t speak English, our staff were able to help them find everything they needed to start a home.

Thanks to generous people like you, this family was able to turn their house into a home.

As the family got settled, the father worked diligently on his English skills—free from the stress of living without basic home necessities. He was able to find a job, and is now working full-time to support his family.

Today, we still see their family often at the Thrift Store, and they always say “hi” to our staff. The children love spending time with the staff and volunteers, too—they even use their interactions to build their English skills.

This family has become such a wonderful part of our community—their visits brighten our days. They are so thankful for people like you for making the transformation of their home and lives possible.

Telus Community Ambassadors Share Hope
Through Generosity and Hand-Knit Gifts!

Due to changing COVID-19 restrictions, many of us have needed to reconsider how we want to give back to our community.

For the past nine years, a group of Telus Ambassadors have been making an annual visit to Kelowna’s Gospel Mission to prepare a special lunch for our guests.

This year, the Ambassadors gave a generous financial gift, as well as the donation of a large bag of hand-knit toques, mittens and scarves!

We are so thankful for the Telus Ambassadors and for the generosity they’ve consistently shown to our community over the last decade. Thank you for inspiring us with your dedication to help others in Kelowna.