A Message from the Executive Director

With Thanksgiving on the horizon—and so much to be thankful for—my mind turns to gratitude. As I think about all of the individuals who make up our community, I want to especially thank our frontline staff who express compassion and kindness everyday, in the face of challenging work.

Many of our frontline staff members can identify with our guests—having gone through difficult circumstances themselves. And so, because of God’s grace and redemption, they’re the perfect candidates to help others.

I am also incredibly thankful for everyone who gave over the summer. As temperatures begin to drop, more people are turning to Kelowna’s Gospel Mission—where a hot meal is the first step to feeling whole again. As needs increase, I hope that you will continue to give generously and help turn homelessness into wholeness, this fall.

Blessings,

Randy Benson

Executive Director, Kelowna’s Gospel Mission

Dan’s Story of
Accepting Grace

It was a cold night, during the first few hours of January 2nd, 2016. After walking the streets for hours, coming down from a crazy and wild New Year’s party, I started feeling like life had turned its back on me. I decided for the umpteenth time that I truly did have a drug and alcohol problem. When I went to the hospital, they recommended that I visit Kelowna’s Gospel Mission, where I’d be able to find all the help I needed.

“I am very blessed to have crossed paths with all of the staff members at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission.” —Dan

On my way to the Mission, I felt extreme shame and guilt. I never thought it would end up like this. And it was the first time in a long time that I’d admitted my own failure, to myself.

As I walked into the Mission, a frontline worker named Kelan greeted me. I asked him if they had any beds available. He looked at me, smiled kindly, and said, “We sure do.” I really thought I was going to be judged, walking in there. But instead, I was greeted with compassion. I felt a little better, already, having taken the first step.

In the morning, I was greeted with a delicious and hearty breakfast, and had the opportunity to connect with people who had stories similar to my own. I was extremely culture-shocked, over the next few days, but the comfort of hot meals motivated me to stay a little longer. And gradually, through chatting with fellow guests and staff members over meals, I made a commitment to myself, to see this thing through.

At the Mission, it felt like the staff members loved me until I was able to love myself. With the help of the Step Up Program, I was able to keep busy and stay clean prior to treatment. The staff then helped me get into a rehabilitation centre where I have completed the 90-day program, and have been supported in my first five-and-a-half months of being clean and sober.

If there is anything I can do to help the lives of others in any way, I would be honoured to do it. Through the grace of God and the Gospel Mission, I have reached a place where my desire is to give back. And for that, I am incredibly thankful.

One Donor’s
Story of Generosity

Recently, we received a legacy gift, and we want to share a little about the man who saw our need and so generously set up this contribution in his will. His name is Hans DeLeeuw.

“He gave [because] he knew the hardships of war and depression. His heart [was] in helping people and paying it forward.” —Helene, Hans’ daughter

“He gave [because] he knew the hardships of war and depression,” says his daughter, Helene. “His heart [was] in helping people and paying it forward.” He was born in the winter of 1919 in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and served with the Allied Forces during WWII. He was also on the Board of Directors for Kelowna General Hospital, helped start Brookhaven Care Centre and volunteered with the Alzheimer Society, the Rotary Club and the War Veterans.

During his lifetime, Hans’ heart was truly devoted to helping people and pay it forward. And right up until he passed away on April 16—at 96 years old—he was always ready to give back and pay it forward.

Thanksgiving Is Just Around The Corner!

On October 10 at noon, we’ll be welcoming hundreds of guests to join us for a delicious Thanksgiving meal. Plates will be piled high with turkey and ham with stuffing and cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and veggies with gravy, and buttered buns. For dessert, we’ll bring out pie and whipped cream, with coffee, juice and tea.

We expect to serve at least 900 Thanksgiving meals, but we need your help to feed all of these people!

For Dan, a hot, comforting meal in community was what motivated him to stick around and learn more about our programs—and now he’s been clean and sober for more than six months!

Did You Know?

Kelowna’s Gospel Mission provides a lot of food for Thanksgiving! We purchase, prepare and cook…

  • 50 turkeys
  • 16 hams
  • 500 lbs of potatoes
  • 40 pies
  • “I am grateful for health and happiness for all.”
    —Ed, staff member

  • “I’m most thankful for God’s faithfulness to me over the years, wherever I lived and whatever the situation. Because of God’s faithfulness to His people, they can in turn be faithful to give to places like the Gospel Mission.”
    —Bev, volunteer

  • “I am grateful that Kelowna’s Gospel Mission is here and that I have a safe place to live and food, as well as direction to an actual home.”
    —Ruby, guest