We have scrambled to implement more changes to our process for doing outreach including having people come into the building one at a time where we offer a bag of groceries to those housed and a “to go” bag with sandwich and juice and ready-to-eat items (granola bars, pull top applesauce & protein, oranges) to those staying on the street or in shelters. Many thanks to Helen Verokosky for providing sandwiches today; Margaret Vellenoweth is providing these to hand out on Thursday.
There is great concern about the virus getting into our sheltered population which has led to the announced early closure of The Welcome Inn. It will close this Friday, March 27. Other temporary winter shelters will likely follow suit—putting at least 80 people back on the street. Debbie Hubbard and Shirley Piedt are taking part in an online “operators and partners” meeting tomorrow that includes Interior Health, BC Housing and the City of Kelowna to discuss how to support the homeless population during this health crisis.
Yesterday we handed out approximately 30 bags of groceries plus another dozen of the smaller bags to those who are homeless. As we continue to gather names, addresses and phone numbers (when available), we are seeing quite a number of new people, particularly those living unsheltered. It would seem, as some of the sources for meals such as Metro and the Gospel Mission have closed or reduced services. Although the reduction in services has been implemented to protect them, it may be creating more hardship for these very vulnerable people.
Thanks to Shirley Piedt we have begun redistributing our supply of Kentucky Fried Chicken to Heath House—a supportive housing project—so they can provide food so people will stay in and not move around the community so much looking for food/resources.
On the anniversary of the assassination of Oscar Romero, Archbishop of El Salvador, I leave you with these words from a prayer composed by Bishop Ken Untener, drafted for a celebration of departed priests.
“We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
An opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.”
Grace and strength,