A Note from Randy

As you know, the world has changed considerably in the last few months. Even now as I write this letter to you the future is uncertain. 

During these difficult days, it is my prayer that our community continues to rally around one another. We truly believe that if we remain calm, faithful, and unified—we will get through these unpredictable times together.  

As you may be aware, after 19 years of serving as the Executive Director, I am preparing to retire this summer. I am so thankful to be blessed with a great team that I know can handle anything the future holds. 

I will be forever grateful to you, our donors and supporters, for your unwavering confidence and support over the years. And I want to thank you for standing by me and Kelowna’s Gospel Mission during these days of uncertainty. Our community is, and will continue to be, our top priority. 

God bless us all,

 

Randy Benson
Executive Director

 

David’s Story:
How An Injury Left Him Homeless

My name is David. And my life may sound different than what you’d expect. I came from a good home in the lower mainland. When I finished school, I followed my passion and became a chef at a nice restaurant downtown. 

Life was going according to plan until my body unexpectedly failed me. 

My memory from that day is foggy. I had been transferred to Kelowna for my job a few months earlier and the newness of an unfamiliar place was just starting to wear off. I remember leaving work to walk home one evening, and then everything went dark.

When I woke up in the hospital, they told me I’d had a seizure and hit my head. I must’ve fallen pretty hard because my skull was fractured. From that moment on, my life was never quite the same.

After my head injury, I had trouble going to work. I was tired all the time and would forget things very easily. Eventually, working at the restaurant wasn’t an option for me.

I tried to apply for disability more than once, but the process confused me and I didn’t know who to ask for help. As my bank account dwindled, I had to give up my apartment.

When I finally ran out of money and lost my place, I knew I needed real help. Thank God for Kelowna’s Gospel Mission.

You’d think that staying in a shelter for 6 months would’ve made me feel worse. But I found something there I didn’t know I was missing: community. 

I loved helping out around the shelter. From washing dishes to cooking breakfast, I actually started to feel like myself again. After everything I’d been through, feeling like I was a part of something was a gift.

“If I wasn’t given the chance to feel like I was a part of something, I don’t know if I’d be alive today.” —David

The staff and volunteers at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission were incredible. Whenever I needed to talk they were there, helping me manage my depression and making my stay at the shelter a thousand times better. 

I know there’s a long road ahead when it comes to recovering from my head injury and managing my mental health.  But now, thanks to the support of donors like you, I have hope that one day soon I’ll be able to return to work as a full-time chef once more. 

Strides to End Homelessness
Was an incredible success this year!

On March 1st, 23 teams comprising 175 participants walked 2k, 5k, or ran the full 10k  in support of people experiencing homelessness. And together, over $52,000 was raised. 

It was truly inspiring to see the community turn out for this event. We were especially thrilled to see more families and children participating than ever before. 

Thank you to everyone who came out to participate, volunteer, and to all of our generous sponsors! 

A Community That Cares
Coming Together As a Collective

We’d like to recognize Paul Cluff, a local ReMax Realtor in Kelowna, for his tremendous support. This year, Paul gave an incredible $10,000 to our Strides to End Homelessness walk to help our city’s most vulnerable people. 

“Kelowna’s Gospel Mission is doing work that is beyond incredible and provides a sense of belonging and safety to those of us who are in need. I feel that it is part of my civic duty, as a member of this community, to give back.” —Paul

Thank you for your generosity, Paul! We are beyond grateful for your heartfelt support. 

Support the Mission