A Note from Carmen

Those who stay in our shelters are often people in pain. Whether it’s physical pain or emotional pain—it’s sometimes obvious and sometimes hidden. The impact from car crashes that left them with brain damage. The invisible scars from childhood neglect. This pain often leaks out in self-destructive behaviours.

And that is where we choose to be present, right in the middle of the mess and the pain. Day after day, we do our best to offer comfort, hope, healing.

We’re beyond thankful for your presence in our community too. It’s your faithful generosity that allows us to be here for individuals when they need a light on their darkest days.

Would you join me in my daily prayers for those whose lives we are present in? Pray that The Source of Hope is present in our shelters, on the streets and everywhere our team serves.

Carmen Rempel
Executive Director, Kelowna’s Gospel Mission
Cyril’s 20 Year Journey
How Recovery Led to Discovery

My name is Cyril, and I’m 47 years old. 20 years ago, I lost my fiancé in Newfoundland. She passed away and I never really addressed the grief issues. I didn’t have support to help me through the grieving process, so I drank and travelled around. I worked here and there, but for the most part I used my earnings just to pay for my booze.

I actually stayed at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission for three months a few years ago.

Then, I moved into a campground and lived in a tent with my girlfriend. But she had a bad alcohol habit, too. We moved to Calgary for a bit, and we both fell back into drinking. Anyone who’s ever struggled with or been around addiction before knows that recovery isn’t a linear path.

At the time, I didn’t see that there were a lot of people trying to help me.

Right after the pandemic began, I knew that I wanted to return to Kelowna. When I came to town, I was drinking heavily—30 beers a day or so. Then one day I woke up and I just couldn’t do it anymore.

We turned to Kelowna’s Gospel Mission for help. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough room for us as a couple. Although we had to live outside, we interacted a lot with their outreach staff. Kelowna’s Gospel Mission staff made sure we felt supported regardless of space restrictions.

The staff was instrumental in getting me into a detox program. It’s amazing what 92 days sober can do. Now, I’ve been sober for almost ten months!

Kelowna’s Gospel Mission was there for me throughout my recovery. They even helped me find employment!

“Kelowna’s Gospel Mission was instrumental in getting me into a detox program. It’s amazing what 92 days sober can do. If you saw pictures of me before treatment and after treatment, you’d swear I wasn’t the same guy.”— Cyril

When you start over, especially after 20 years on the streets, there’s definitely an adjustment period. You have to re-learn how to navigate day-to-day life. Stuff like balancing your budget, paying your bills, you know?

Today, I run my own business in general contracting, and it’s going really well.

Lately I’ve noticed that faith is beginning to play a major role in my life. I find myself praying and believing more. Instead of worrying about the things that are out of my control, now I just leave it to God.

To all the donors, volunteers and staff who are looking out for folks like me, thank you. You guys were a major part of my recovery.

Strides to End Homelessness
You Helped Us Exceed Our Winter-Walk Goal!

On February 27th, we invited the greater Kelowna community to participate in our annual Strides to End Homelessness event. Every year, this fundraiser brings out folks from all over the city who join us in a two and five-kilometer walk or a ten-kilometer run to raise money in support of our emergency shelter and Harmony Ministries, our transitional housing for women.

With COVID-19 restrictions in place, the event looked a little different this time around. Rather than walking together, our participants attended in their own bubbles, wearing their Strides to End Homelessness toques!

After the especially challenging circumstances 2020 presented, this event felt more critical than ever. For people experiencing homelessness in Kelowna, our emergency shelter and transitional homes often act as a lifeline.

“To our surprise, we exceeded our goal and raised $51,000 on this beautiful sunny day,” says Carmen, our Executive Director.

We are so grateful to everyone who came out and participated in this year’s Strides to End Homelessness event. Your participation not only helped us raise an incredible amount for our emergency and transitional homes, but it also showed individuals experiencing homelessness in our city that they aren’t alone.

Thank You Jennifer!
Your Gifts Warmed Hearts This Spring

Jennifer—a student at the University of Regina—recently decided to support the Kelowna’s Gospel Community in a big way. Inspired by a school assignment called ‘The Make-A-Difference Project,’ she chose to place her focus on our cause.

After asking us for a selection of items that we needed most, such as sleeping bags, toothbrushes, blankets and pajamas — she went out and collected everything on that list!

“I’ve always had it in my heart to do something like this,” says Jennifer.

We want to express a big thank you to Jennifer for the compassion and generosity she showed to our community this year!