Regarding Gordy Robson’s column [Outreach must create synergy, Feb. 26 Just Saying, TIMES], “synergy” is a great word to describe the partnership between the Street Ministry and the CEED Centre to provide a community supper once a week, because that is exactly what took place.
Two organizations came together to provide a place where people from all sorts of situations could get together for a meal, share stories and sit down together in a comfortable, safe setting for a meal.
Many who do not have Internet access in their homes found out that they could use the computers at the CEED centre, develop literacy skills, take art classes, and make good community use of the facilities.
Not all the people who come for a meal on Saturdays need to be in a treatment facility. Many are friends who just want to come by and share a meal and be listened to.
If someone needs something, we do our best (with a trained counsellor) to fulfill their needs.
I am sure that all of the many volunteers from many organizations have their own very good reasons for participating in the dinners on Saturday evenings, but for me, I am not going out as a “missionary,” but as a ministry: to serve, to build relationships, to listen, to care unconditionally.
St. George’s used to be a church in the middle of downtown Haney, and so was in touch with the downtown area. Since moving out further along Dewdney, we do not have the contact and relationships with the people in town and have been doing that through food and companionship for many years.
Just for clarification, we are not an “illegal” soup kitchen. We have a licence to distribute food. We began serving on Saturday evenings, twice a month, because at that time The Caring Place did not provide meals on Saturday evenings and there were people who were hungry.
I would love to have no one show up on a Saturday because they were not hungry, but unfortunately, that is not the case. When we stop having hungry people in Maple Ridge, we will not need to provide food.
If we must quote scripture to Mr. Robson: “You must love and help your neighbours just as much as you love and take care of yourself.”
The people who share food with me on Saturday evenings are my neighbours.
Rebecca Kozol, Maple Ridge