The Anglicans of West Point Grey Neighbourhood Ministry is a collaborative ministry offered by the parishes of St. Anselm’s, St. Philip’s, St. Helen’s and St. John's, Shaughnessy to serve people living on our streets. Under the guidance of Rev. Dr. Pitman Potter and staff facilitator the Reverend Liz Hamel, the Neighbourhood Ministry offers care, companionship and practical help to our most vulnerable neighbours living on the Westside streets and in marginalized conditions.
At the core of the Neighbourhood Ministry is its street outreach program. Teams of 3-5 people (one from each parish) take part in the preparation and distribution of packages to homeless folk on the west side. Volunteers deliver nutritious packets of food, clothing and other necessities every Saturday morning, year-round. The greatest gift is that of conversation and companionship, and those living on the street have developed a trust in Neighbourhood Ministry volunteers. The parishes donate items in-kind and cash, as well as provide volunteer help. This ministry initiative transforms the lives of those who prepare, give and receive the packets by fostering friendship and understanding.
Building Community at Dunbar Apartments
Neighbourhood Ministry volunteers help build community at the Supportive Housing apartments at 17th and Dunbar. Dunbar Apartments offers housing to formerly homeless people from the area – many of whom were referred by the Neighbourhood Ministry – as well as those with mental illness referred through the Vancouver Health Authority. Volunteers at Dunbar serve dinner on the weekends and offer seasonal celebrations for building residents. In addition, volunteers offer one-on-one assistance that ranges from accompanying residents to medical appointments to pastoral care. The Neighburhoood Ministry contributes funding toward a breakfast program. Coast Mental Health manages the Dunbar Apartments and through the Neighbourhood Ministry involvement in the building, a very collaborative relationship has formed.
Mobile Care Unit
In 2017, the Mobile Care Unit (MCU) was launched in partnership with the UBC Schools of Medicine and Social Work. The MCU is a travelling team who provides basic medical care and social services to homeless and low-income populations in our neighbourhood who may face barriers to care. The team is comprised of doctors, medical students, social work students, and Neighbourhood Ministry volunteers. They visit three sites on average 8 times per month, sites where homeless and needy neighbours gather for community meals. Currently, this includes visits to the Kitsilano Showers for the Homeless program at the Kits Community Centre (Saturdays), St. Mary’s Kerrisdale (Tuesdays), and St. Augustine’s Marpole (Thursdays). Our MCU team also visits homeless people where they live – in alcoves, laneways and beaches. Volunteers assist in any way they can to help clients access resources and services available.
The Angels Program The Neighbourhood Ministry has ‘angels’ to help with supporting the people we serve. Volunteer angels are paired with clients who require extra support in accessing services for which they are eligible. Angels play a significant role in supplementing services done by the Mobile Care Unit, working behind the scenes to advocate for and assist clients.
Funding and Support Funding for the Neighbourhood Ministry activities is shared by the four sponsor parishes (St. Anselm’s, St. Helen’s, St. John’s Shaughnessy and St. Philip’s). Parishes donate items-in-kind and cash, and provide the bulk of volunteers. Over the years, neighbours and friends not associated with the churches have joined as volunteers, to be part of this special and life-changing ministry.
Beginning in 2018, The Neighbourhood Ministry Mobile Care Unit is the grateful recipient of care+share funding from the Diocese of New Westminster.
There are many ways to support the Neighbourhood Ministry. You are warmly welcome to join us! Visit our website at www.neighbourhoodministry.com
TUESDAY COMMUNITY MEAL - We have been feeding the less fortunate since 1997 at a hearty sit-down evening meal on Tuesday. Those who come to our meal are the working poor bringing their children, the homeless, the isolated, the disabled, new immigrants, the mentally handicapped, and elders, especially women with low incomes. This ministry has grown over the years and is run with the help of countless volunteers every Tuesday at 5:30pm like clockwork.
WEDNESDAY HAMPER PROGRAM – This program, the Reaching Home Hamper Initiative, evolved out of grant money , we partner with The Richmond School Board this program has grown from an original half dozen hampers to approximately 24 hampers weekly. The recipients are families with children in both elementary and secondary schools, as identified by teachers and principals. To date we have provided food to over 4,000 people.
FRIDAY LUNCH PROGRAM – A nutritious and hot lunch continues to be served out of the church hall every Friday at 11:30 to between 25 and 35 people. Due to COVID we have transitioned to a takeout style but the community atmosphere prevails. We are nearing 8,000 lunches served to date, since 2016.
SATURDAY SHOWER PROGRAM - The Shower Program runs every Saturday 7:30am – 10am and provides a place for guests to shower, receive hygiene and clothing essentials, as well as a hot breakfast. A bagged lunch is also distributed by volunteers. We have between 6-10 volunteers every week to help the guests, and we serve approx. 25-35 guests each week. Due to the safety concern for our volunteers and guests, the program has followed the direction of the provincial health order to close down on March 7, 2020. As of March 2021 the program is still suspended.
SUNDAY OUTREACH PROGRAM – This program has expanded. It started out as a mobile sandwich program for the homeless, to include wonderful deli assortments and easy to prepare meals, donated by the Food Bank each Sunday morning. The focus remains on the homeless but a large number of recipients are the unemployed, those on social assistance, or those who do not have enough income to feed themselves or their families. The food is delivered by Team Sunday, which consists of two pairs of volunteers and deliveries take almost the entire day. Socks, underwear, boots, shoes etc are also distributed.
FOOD AID DELIVERY COALITION – This continues as per its originator, Hugh Freiberg, who delivers hot meals five nights a week, prepared and donated by faith organizations or by contract from local restaurants.
St. Mary’s Kerrisdale Church provides the Kerrisdale Community Meal (KCM) on a year-round basis and the meal is served each Tuesday at 11:30 am. The meal is a hot, home-cooked, sit-down meal with coffee and pastries available from 10:15 am. A modified “brown-bag” sandwich take-out service is provided in the summer months (3rd Tues in Jun - 2nd Tues in Sept). The KCM has approximately 30 volunteers who serve between 80-90 people on Tuesdays. An additional 40 volunteers ensure the weekly “behind the scenes” organization operates smoothly with baking, shopping for meal ingredients and pickups from local suppliers.
Funding is provided from individual donations, contributions from businesses, occasional fundraising events and in-kind donations from local Kerrisdale merchants.
Partners include: Point Grey High School (students from Life Skills class receive training at the Community Meal).
Volunteers are always welcomed. For more information, please contact the Parish Office @ 604.261.4228.
The Eburne Society offers free community meals on or around the major holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. Between fifty and eighty people enjoy a sit-down dinner in the Parish Centre. There are about ten volunteers and no paid staff. The Eburne Society relies on donations and the occasional fundraising event.
The Food Bank uses the St. Augustine Parish Centre to distribute food every Thursday morning except cheque week.
The Hudson Street Hub, a partnership between St Augustine’s and the Marpole-Oakridge Family Place, hosts a dinner at St. Augustine's Parish Centre every Thursday evening: doors open at 6pm dinner is served at 6:30. The cost is $6 per person or by donation, but no-one will be turned away due to lack of funds. The Hub also hosts a breakfast every Friday morning from 9am until about 10:30 starting at $4 per person. Again, no-one will be turned away.
The Hub offer recreation programs for seniors and others as well throughout the week, everything from sewing and knitting to ping-pong and bridge. And seasonally, we offer tax clinics, flu shots, and other important services. Contact St Augustine’s for a schedule of events.
St Augustine’s Thrift Shop, Second Hand Rows, is open Thursdays and Saturdays, usually from around 10am until 2pm, though the hours vary. Come at lunch time for your best chance of finding a bargain on clothing, housewares and anything else you could want.
MANY OF THE ABOVE PROGRAMS ARE IN TRANSITION DUE TO COVID-19
Christ Church Cathedral uses food to nourish its communities in ways that cultivate connection, holistic health and community resiliency, by honouring the agency, creativity, dignity, intellect, and worth of all who come to the table.
The Cathedral’s Maundy Café is a place of hospitality and connection where food is shared in the picturesque Park Room five days per week. Our guests include people who are street-involved, as well as seniors, tourists, and those who work in the area. Meals are served from September through June at the following times:
Mondays: 9.00am to 11.00am
Tuesdays: 11.00am to 12.30pm
Wednesdays: 11.00am to 12.30pm
Thursdays: 5.30pm to 7.00pm
Fridays: 11.00am to 12.30pm
There are opportunities to volunteer in the kitchen, as greeters, servers, or musicians at a variety of times throughout the week.
To volunteer, please contact the Cathedral’s volunteer coordinator through the parish office at 604.682.3848 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Cathedral also partners with the Greater Vancouver Food Bank to host the Downtown Community Food Hub on Mondays from 9.00am to 11.00am in the Parish Hall. The Food Bank runs every week, with the exception of Statutory Holidays and Cheque Week Mondays. For further information on the Food Hub contact 604.876.3601
Meal Ministry (Hot Meal)
The sit-down hot meal, served from 6 – 7 pm in the church hall operates on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Friday of each month and serves 120 people. Approximately 30 people are volunteering at the meal. St. Michael’s and St. Philip’s provide $200 each a month for one hot meal (2nd Friday); Rainbow Church provides funding for the other two Fridays. Holy Cross provides canned food and volunteers for Mondays. Partners include: St. Philip, Holy Cross, Rainbow Church. Contact Brigette Castro by email for more information.
To receive food from the food bank, people register with the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society. On Thursdays, the Food Bank is open for workers and students from 6 – 7 pm. The Food Bank is not open on Thursdays that fall during welfare cheque week. At the moment it serves 40 people. Funding Greater Vancouver Food Bank. Partners include: Holy Cross; Greater Vancouver Food Bank.
St. Margaret’s parish is in the Cedar Cottage neighbourhood of East Vancouver. The parish has a long history of taking an active part in the neighbourhood. This is especially evident on Tuesdays, from 10 am to 12 noon when St. Margaret’s Food Bank Depot distributes groceries to the needy. In 2009 St. Margaret’s was approached by the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society who was looking to find a new location for a depot that was currently being run out of the Trout Lake Community Centre and needed to move because the community centre was going to undergo renovations. Starting in November, once a week except during income assistance week, our sanctuary is transformed from its usual configuration for Sunday worship into a new configuration that fits several tables and thousands of pounds of fresh and packaged food, which is distributed by the approximately 20 dedicated volunteers to the nearly 300 recipients each week. Most of the people that use the food bank are from the local neighbourhood, many are seniors and nearly half are families with young children. This program runs year round.
Please contact the Rev. Heidi Brear by email for more information. All funding comes from individuals and organizations willing to donated funds, food and time. Partners include: Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society.
St. Paul’s Anglican Church Advocacy Office provides help and support to anyone in difficulty. Welfare, housing, food access, immigration, legal issues, accommodation problems, or access to government services are all addressed by caring volunteers who meet one-on-one with clients to work together to resolve their issues. This is a free service that St. Paul’s offers as part of its ministry to the community at large. The Advocacy Office was founded in 1995.