Non-profit community organizations, like Riverside Mission, send out a news letter, donation request appeals, or project fund raising announcements in order to raise awareness of the needs of the clients they serve. These letters, appeals and announcements are also useful in raising your own awareness of how you can help and how you can build up your own capacity to help others in need.
So, the next time you see an announcement or newsletter from Riverside Mission, please remember this request is not just made to help build up the clients they provide services to, but to build up you.
The essence of any blessing is that when it flows to you, it should flow through you.
Chairman of the board
Hope is a verb, an action word. Hope is something you do, hope puts its hands to work. Farmers plant a seed with the hope of a good crop. A contractor buys some land with the hope of building some homes. A student gets an education with the hope of having a career. Have you put your hands to work for what you are hoping for?
Ending homelessness is achievable, only if we put our hope into action. Volunteering, supporting fund raising campaigns, one time donations or recurring financial donations, and being another voice for the homeless in the community are all actions that can be taken to help end homelessness.
Chairman of the Board
Moose Jaw has always been a community that generously supports a cause when it needs support. Whether it is fund raising for the Wigmore Hospital, the Trolley, or some individual who needs assistance when dealing with an emergent issue the citizens of Moose Jaw and the surrounding community have always been there. I would like to bring to your attention an ongoing issue in this city, homelessness and poverty. These issues will not be fixed with a one time commitment from any individual or the community; this is a long term effort. So, how can you help out? Whether as an individual or if you belong to a community group or faith group, there are several ways you can assist with alleviating the impact of homelessness and poverty in Moose Jaw.
Financial donations; whether it is a one-time donation or regular donations, Riverside Mission needs your help. All donations help the Mission to innovate in the supports it provides to its clients and also invest in the essentials that the Mission needs to deliver on its overall goals. Your donations can be targeted to anyone of the many renovation/upgrade projects that Riverside Mission needs support to complete. You can also join Coldest Night of the Year this upcoming February 25, 2017 and fund raise for Riverside Mission through this event. Donations of packaged or frozen food items are also greatly appreciated.
Volunteer; Riverside Mission serves meals five nights a week and also three lunches per week. They need volunteers to help serve these meals and then provide clean up of the dining hall afterwards. If volunteering during meal times won’t work for you, call the Mission and talk with Rachel, she always needs help before meals with the preparation of the food. Volunteering can also mean providing manual labour when anyone of the work projects needs helping hands, call Riverside Mission to see when these projects are underway and to see if there is any way you can help.
We tend to think outside our community and our country when we think about how I can help others. If we look inside our own community there is help that is needed. These non-profits may not get the same media coverage that other world or national volunteer programs do however, it has just as great of an impact on those you will be helping out.
Chairman of the Board
We made the first page on the Moose Jaw Times Herald!! Unfortunately, it was reported that I was staying two nights rather than the three but MJTH did give good coverage. We are thankful to them for that. Last night was the coldest night as far as temperature is concerned. It was much more damp and I found myself sleeping with my head under the covers. As with the previous two nights I was snug and warm and slept well. There was more noise from the bar and the trains were busy. I awoke this morning with damp covers. I was dry but the surface of my bedding was damp. This morning after breakfast some of us went up and took down my cardboard condo. There was an emotional twinge as I watched my shelter being flattened and put in the recycle bin. As we were taking it down I noticed that the cardboard was not as rigid as it was Tuesday.
So, what did I learn from this experience? I will reflect on it for days to come and new thoughts will come to me through those reflections. For the immediate, these are the issues that come to mind. I believe that vulnerability is a big issue for the homeless. They are subject to the weather and need to adapt to any changes that might occur. They are at risk of intruders. I pulled my ladder up each night to eliminate the possibility of any unwanted visits. People living in the park, under a bridge or even in a vehicle will have a more difficult task warding off any unwanted attention and potential harm or loss. I wonder how quickly despair would overcome a person having no place to go, not seeing any hope of change in sight. Privacy came to my attention. As I got out of my shelter I could see all around. I don’t know how well seen I was when standing on the roof but I felt everyone could see me. I had the comfort of access to a bathroom for toileting and changing clothing. This morning I woke up feeling hungry and within the hour had access to something warm to eat. I also had access to a shower so my being near someone else did not bring offense; at least due to odor! My experience brought me kind words and encouragement (remember, I made the front page!). No one wondered when I would quit being a bum and get a job. No one avoided me for fear that I might steal or pass on some weird disease.
My experience drives me to seek better ways to serve our less fortunate helping them no longer be “less fortunate.” The start of this may be in showing a little more compassion, in being willing to offer an act of kindness to demonstrate the love that Jesus so readily gave to the less fortunate he met. This is the start, not the end.
Homelessness and poverty do not wait for Thanksgiving and Christmas to occur. Homelessness and poverty are issues that Riverside Mission deals with every day of the year. We’ve enjoyed a relatively mild fall, which has changed in the first week of December. Warmer weather fools us into forgetting about those who don’t have roofs over their heads or warm beds in which to sleep.
In the month of October 2016, Riverside Mission provided low income housing for 11 men, emergency shelter for 219 clients, and 864 meals for those who could not afford to provide for themselves. These are not mere numbers; these are people who need our love, care, and support.
Support for Riverside Mission, through financial giving and volunteering needs to be consistently provided throughout the year, in order to ensure this need is addressed. This means giving by people, businesses, organizations, and corporations becoming regular monthly donors through financial or volunteer time.
After these festive seasons are over, Riverside Mission continues to see a flow of people in need coming through their doors, not people who want to help out in any way they can. As a community, Moose Jaw needs to be more responsive to this need, not only during the worst of winter, but every day and regardless of the weather.
Riverside Mission Board Chairman
Last night was a milder night as there was no wind. Again, I was snug and comfortable. I went to bed a little later as I hoped not to awaken as early as I did Wednesday morning. Last night I fell asleep shortly after settling in and slept through until morning. It is my week to serve breakfast to the shelter clients and so I needed to be in by 8:00 a.m. If I get a good night’s sleep I can function well at work the following day.
There had been freezing rain in the forecast earlier in the day. Fortunately, that did not come to pass. Had we had freezing rain my night experience could have been less comfortable. My cardboard condo has served me well these last two nights. I wonder, how good it would be in inclement weather? If the temperature dropped dramatically, would I have sufficient bedding to stay safe and warm? I realize how vulnerable one can be without proper shelter.
Though I feel as if I have slept well through the night I find myself tired during the day. My performance is affected by this. I also am frequently told I look tired. We will soon discover how third night out will affect my day tomorrow.
There are several things I need to note. I don’t know what it is like to be homeless for several reasons:
- I am doing this for three nights. Regardless of how my experience unfolds I go home Friday after work.
- I have keys to the mission building. If anything goes awry or becomes a serious threat I have an immediate escape.
- Before I fall asleep I have family and friends wishing me well and a good night. I do not have a sense of being all alone.
- Sleeping on the roof of the mission gives me some control that I would not have sleeping on the ground in the park, under a bridge, etc. I have far less likelihood of unwanted intrusion.
- I am prepared for this experience. I did not lose control of my situation or suddenly find myself having to sleep outside.
It is important to me to acknowledge this as I do not want to minimize the plight of the homeless. Last night was an adventure for me and, as hoped, I have attracted some attention. The homeless person likely does not view his/her situation as an adventure and homeless people are usually invisible.
That cleared out of the way I will now focus on my experience. During the day one of our shelter clients and I put the shelter together. The pictures of my cardboard shelter can be seen on Discover Moose Jaw. Basically, it is one long box with two appliance boxes (washer/dryer) forming a hood over half of the shelter. Dan, our operations manager, went over the shelter with Tuck Tape sealing off any potential spots the wind might go through. He secured by cardboard condo to a platform he had built on the roof for this occasion. As 10:00 approached a good friend at the mission made some spaghetti for me before I went up to the roof. He wanted me to have carbohydrates to burn while sleeping in the cold. This same friend helped me load my gear up to the roof. I quickly got my bed ready. My bed is made up of two vinyl covered foam mattresses found in the basement, a denim quilt, a comforter, a pillow and my sleeping bag. I wore a long sleeve t-shirt, a hoodie, sweat pants and warm socks. The wind was strong and I was grateful that Dan had positioned my condo to keep the opened part away from the wind. I was settled by 10:30 and fell asleep shortly after. A couple of times through the night I woke up to the sound of the wind beating against my shelter but had a good sleep and slept through to morning.