The air was filled with excitement at Oak Table Community Ministry in Winnipeg, Manitoba, as guests who signed up for Beach Day confirmed the details. “What time should I be here?” “How many are going?” “What time does the bus leave?” “What are we having for lunch?” were common questions. A few guests were anxious, wanting to know how their ID would be safe if they went in the water, or how they would get breakfast that morning since they usually go to a soup kitchen.

Some things were easily solved. The ministry would help keep wallets safe; they would serve juice and a muffin to everyone when they arrived. Other things were not easily solved and showed just how alone in the world many of the guests are. As those staffing the camp did their due diligence in making sure they had phone numbers and names of next of kin or a friend who could be contacted in case of emergency, they quickly found out that many had no one they could name. No friend, no relative, no neighbour to call if something happened to them.

It is hard to imagine that someone could be so isolated, so alone. When Oak Table guests are hospitalized, the ministry is their contact person. When someone goes in for surgery, often Oak Table is the name that goes down as the emergency contact. The ministry’s staff and volunteers are the ones who miss them when they are not there. They are their family.

For those attending, Beach Day could be the only “family” outing they have, with the only “family” they know.

Your gifts for Mission & Service help make sure all have a place to go and people they can call family.

If Mission & Service giving is already a regular part of your life, thank you so much! If you have not given, please join me in making Mission & Service giving a regular part of your life of faith. Loving our neighbour is at the heart of our Mission & Service.

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