In the dark hours before sunrise, United Church minister Rev. Al drives through downtown Victoria greeting the city’s street community. He welcomes them with hot coffee, breakfast, and other necessities. The morning run lets Rev. Al and his team at the Dandelion Society plan their response to individual needs.
Doreen Kot and the folks at Parkdale United Church, are engaged in partnerships that effectively work to reduce poverty. One way they do this is by supporting Acadia Place, a KAIROS Calgary initiative that brings together 130 churches from 10 denominations to help homeless families in Calgary.
In late 2016 Wesley was the guest speaker at a fundraiser for Oak Table Community Ministry in Winnipeg. He suffers from claustrophobia and panic attacks, so it was not easy for him to get up in front of a large group and speak from the heart, but he did. The room was quiet as Wesley told a bit of his story.
Brian came to Ottawa’s Carlington Community Chaplaincy during a rough time. “The doctor said that I wouldn't be able to work anymore and my income went from $3000 to $300 per month. It was like looking at the bottom of the barrel, and trust me, it was not nice...." Brian started volunteering at the Chaplaincy, “It gave me a sense of purpose and made a big difference."
One of the most successful free services the Brunswick Street Mission in Halifax offers homeless people is at tax time. With qualified people volunteering, people living in poverty can get their income taxes done and qualify for government rebates such as the GST.
Dana Reid is a Life Skills Integrator at Emmanuel House (part of Stella’s Circle) in St. John’s, NL. She is also a singer, songwriter, and recording artist, who combined her talents to write the song Hope Lives Here, the well-known tag line of Stella’s Circle.
The United Church of Canada works to address issues of poverty from Victoria to St. John’s. We also work with Canadian Partners like Canada Without Poverty, Citizens for Public Justice, the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association, and others, to advocate for systems and policies that support all Canadians in dignified ways and work for the eradication of poverty.
The federal government has signalled their willingness to listen by launching public consultations to shape a Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy. Together as people of faith we can significantly shape the new strategy by raising our voices. Take Action and make your desire for a Canada without poverty known!