As we move towards the month of March, we are beginning to look at how we can best serve this year's program runners, the Progressive Housing Society (PHS), operating out of Burnaby. After a two-year long hiatus, the program has finally been sponsored this year by this incredible homelessness action group, and we are excited to begin this partnership with them, hopefully for many years to come.
As with any change in leadership, the program itself is changing, as is the amount of a presence we have at the church level. PHS has decided that they will alter the running of the program, choosing to do a majority of the work through the use of their own staff. They are bringing in cots for the clients to sleep on, they are providing a nightly catering service to provide dinner meals, and they are bringing in and outside professional cleaning group to do a clean 3 days a week. As a result, we will actually have no contact with the clients, unlike in previous years.
Instead they have asked for practical help in a few areas:
1.) They have requested that we provide 2 volunteers for every morning that an outside cleaning crew does not come into the building, specifically on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday Mornings from 7-8am.
2.) They are asking for us to provide 15 bagged lunches per day. These will be offered to the clients as they leave our facility, and any leftover lunches will be handed out to members of the community who choose not to enter the shelter overnight.
3.) We have offered to provide nightly desserts for the clientelle, enough to feed between 15-20 people.
4.) For those who are not able to provide active support, please consider donating via E-Transfer, CanadaHelps or Interac and designating your gift "MAT Program" to help cover the cost of supplies. You can also help buy buying and donating supplies. We will need enough sandwich bags to last us the month, paper lunch bags, individual condiment packets (mustard, mayo, etc), granola bars or cookies, and juice boxes.
4.) And finally, we will be collecting new or lightly used donations of jackets, gloves, hats, personal care and toiletry items, and perhaps most importantly NEW SOCKS. Many of the local homeless community do not actually reuse the socks, because they don't have reliable access to washing machines, so by providing clean, unused socks, we are offering a way to care for them through these colder, wetter months.
If you are interested in helping out in any of these ways, follow the links below to sign up, or drop your donations off at the church. If you have any questions, please contact one of our church volunteer coordinators, Erin at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Anneliesa at email@example.com.