Last evening I had the chance to spend sometime talking to recent 2011 Victoria city council candidate, social justice and homelessness activist Rose Henry. Rose Henry knows poverty, and addiction from personal and real life experience. She has her eyes and ears close to the street...She sees and hears what's happening beyond the margins of Victoria's inner city. But Rose, is also a leader, teacher and mentor. And one of the young people she has been mentoring is Thomas Morgan from Esquimalt Secondary School. As Rose says, " Thomas is a 15year old first nations youth who aspires to be apart of building a better community for all. " That's Rose and Thomas in the above picture.
Thomas is one of the organizers of 3,500 coats.org a group focused on collecting winter jackets mainly for kids on Victoria, and Vancouver Island. We don't necessarily see a lot of kids living on the inner city streets...it would be devastating tragedy if we did. But because we don't doesn't mean that increasing poverty is not a reality and effecting kids. This recent article from the Vancouver Sun ( BC. Moving in the Wrong Direction on Child Poverty: Report )...reveals the shocking reality that more "children " are apart of poverty.
Last year's the program " Coats for Kids " due unforeseen circumstances is unable to collect and distribute coats. So a group of concerned community members, unaffiliated with any charity or non-profit organization, are taking it upon themselves to fill this gap.
Please help us by making a donation of coats, gloves, hats, shoes, socks or any winter or watertproof gear. You can get details here as to where you can drop of clothing.
3500 COAT DRIVE
Christmas is fast approaching when Jesus was birthed into our neighbourhood to show us all what being human is all about...about taking care of the least of the least. Our future will only be as good as how well we take care of our children...not just mine, or yours...but everyone's. Let's make a difference this year for the kids living in poverty in Victoria.
You can follow the 3500 COAT DRIVE Facebook Page
t's time for our CARTS Annual General Meeting. Because our year runs from August to July, our AGM happens in the Fall.
Our AGM will happen on Friday, November 25 at 7 PM at the St. Barnabas Church Hall. St Barnabas Anglican Church is located on the corner of Belmont Ave. and Begbie St., by Stadacona Park. It is easily accessible by bus: Take a 27 or 28 bus to the top of Begbie St., or a 2, 11 or 14 to Oak Bay Junction and walk a block north on Belmont Ave.
Our AGM will contain all of the fun stuff you look forward to at an AGM...and more. I'm sure if you've been a part of CARTS for awhile you know, and if you're new...you sense it, where the Psalmist says " where deep calls to deep. And that is " community." And the AGM is part of that , it's a time to celebrate the past year...and a time to envision the coming year. It's time for conversation, a time to bring your questions. it's a time to bring ideas...it's time to get to know one another.
SO PLEASE COME EACH AND EVERY ONE IS AN INTEGRAL PART OF CARTS...like a beautiful collage each person brings their beauty to what CARTS is. SEE YOU THERE.
Every few weeks some people get together and bake a few cookies--like maybe 400! You can see some of the results on our photos page. The not-so-secret recipe is on our volunteer resources page.
If you are interested in joining in one of these cookie marathons, or maybe would be just as happy making some at home, contact us. We will put you in touch with our cookie coordinators.
There are lots of ministries like CARTS in lots of different cities around the world. Some are huge, many are just a community of passionate people--passionate about being the love of God in a hurting world.
Love Wins is one of those kind of ministries. They describe themselves in this way:
Our mission is to demonstrate and promote God’s love for the marginalized through personal relationships, education and support. Love Wins Ministries shares unconditional love and friendship with the homeless and poor population of Raleigh, North Carolina. We focus on relationships, not outcomes – just like you do with your friendships.
I just read a post on their blog, and then the earlier post referred to part way through. In so many ways it reflects the same kind of personal face-to-face interaction we strive for with CARTS.
It also reflects the joy we have as we are able to help someone. Not just a nameless statistic, but a someone. Someone who is just as special as anyone else.
Hugh Hollowell founded Love Wins Ministries. Here is a video of Hugh talking about how he got involved in his 'ministry of presence'.
Start coming out with us on Sunday afternoons. Get hooked! Start connecting with people on your own. Experience the joy of being the love of God.
We just received a two page pdf document listing of free and economically priced meals, as well as food banks throughout Greater Victoria.. It is up-to-date as of this month. It was compiled by the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness. Thanks to them for doing the legwork to compile this information, and for making it readily available.
We have also placed a link on our 'Contact' page, so you can find it in the future.
Click on the link below to open the document. You can save or print it for future reference.
Occupy Victoria was handed their eviction notice today...their physical space might be gone, but lets hope they have awaked our conscience. These words are appropriate from Shane Claiborne...
"What an opportunity to create conversation! Jesus' own parable in Luke 12 is relevant to the entire effort. Why build bigger and bigger barns? Occupy Wall Street may not come up with solutions, but at least it is asking the right questions in a nonviolent setting. I don't believe that love can be forced, but I believe it can be provoked. I don't believe that generosity can be forced, but it can be provoked. Occupy Wall Street is provoking generosity."
"I'm hoping that Christians will see this as an opportunity to proclaim that God's heart is big enough for the 100 percent. It matters to God that some people are sagging with food while others need $3 for a mosquito net. It also matters to God that many of the oppressors are, in spite of their money, desperately lonely and suffering. God cares for both and can set both free. I believe we're building something new, proclaiming something else as possible. God wants to see us systemically dismantle disparity."
" Being sent may be enough to guarantee my own presence, but it doesn't necessarily follow that I will be the presence of Jesus, too. For this, I need to learn how to truly be among the people to whom I am sent, as Jesus was among us. The character of my presence needs to be like his. I am sometimes struck by thoughts of the hundreds of lepers Jesus did not heal, the thousands of people who died of ridiculous little infections during his life time, the blind or lame beggars who missed his passing by a few hundred yards or a few minutes. He healed so few! And I, who can heal no one, am reminded being his presence does not nean fixing everything."
Being among people means being in their midst, not outside. It means being with them, not being over them. It means not looking away from their agony, or humiliation, but beholding it, and having the courage to be wounded by their pain.
( From " God in the Alley ...being and seeing Jesus in a broken world " written by Greg Paul )
With each passing day the mercury on the thermometer slowing drops, the rain becomes a bit more relentless and the furious winter winds cause it to blow sideways. Housing the homeless this time of year always becomes a challenge, trying to formulate a plan for the coldest nights so no one will be left on the back alleys, or in open doorways. But despite best efforts there are some who seem to defy all logic and decide to stay on the street. Now, I don't want to compare Saskatoon winter with Victoria's. But when you combine wet, wind and cold...it has the effect of velcro. Its a cold that anyone on the street will tell you, " it sticks to you and won't let go."
But some people in the inner city will go out of there way to avoid shelters. You would think with all the people in the shelter their might be a sense of community. Most folks will tell you, no. A lot of times it's an amplification of what's on the street. It's a more crowded sense of disconnect, isolation, brokenness, fear...in which the barometric pressure of emotion can feel like a brewing storm.
Jordon Cooper is " Residential Coordinator " at the Salvation Army Shelter in Saskatoon. Jordon has been in that position for a number of years and has his fingers on the pulse of poverty, homelessness and addiction in the inner city. Through his hands on experience he has gleaned a lot of wisdom. And in a recent StarPhoenix article" Homeless need not just Shelter " Jordon explains the difference between shelter and home. These following quotes from the article reveal how shelters really don't solve the homeless problem...it's more a band aide solution.
" For years when I talked and read about homelessness, I thought it was about shelter. It’s not.Homelessness is a lack of home, a place to go to be safe, find someone who loves you and you love back, and a place where you have connections to others. A shelter that doesn’t have any of that is just a place to crash and stay warm."
" The solution isn’t emergency shelters, but a place where they can find what they are looking for – whether that’s safety, friends or just a quiet place to call home.
Until we manage to build the affordable and social housing that can make this happen, we will have people freezing outside because to them, it’s not any worse than all their other options."
May God bless you with discomfort…
at easy answers, hard hearts,
half-truths, and superficial relationships.
May God bless you
so that you may live from deep within your heart
where God’s Spirit dwells.
May God bless you with anger…
at injustice, oppression,
and exploitation of people.
May God bless you so that you may
work for justice, freedom, and peace.
May God bless you with tears…
to shed for those who suffer from pain,
rejection, starvation and war.
May God bless you so that you
may reach out your hand
to comfort them and turn their pain into joy.
And may God bless you with
to believe that you can make a difference
in this world, in your neighborhood,
so that you will courageously try
what you don’t think you can do, but,
in Jesus Christ you’ll have all the strength necessary.
May God bless you to fearlessly
speak out about injustice,
unjust laws, corrupt politicians,
unjust and cruel treatment of prisoners,
and senseless wars,
genocides, starvations, and poverty that is so pervasive.
May God bless you that you remember
we are all called
to continue God’s redemptive work
of love and healing
in God’s place, in and through God’s name,
in God’s Spirit, continually creating
and breathing new life and grace
into everything and everyone we touch.
( translation by J.R. Woodward )
What if one day the entire body of Christ was struck dumb? What if we couldn't write a word; couldn't speak a word, and we couldn't move our lips to mouth one.
What would be left?
And what would our lives say?
What would they say about who we are and who our God is?
What would they say about what we believe?
If we were to take away the words, how much of the gospel would the world understand? Would we discover the world is illiterate? Or that our lives are illegible?
Would the writings on the pages of our lives, which we always took to be literate, turn out to be the scribblings of a preschooler? Or would the pages simply be blank?
"Preach the gospel," Saint Francis said, "and when necessary, use words." And he said that, I think, because he realized that the most impactful words are those incarnate in our lives. Words that are made flesh and dwell among the world.
We are a local Victoria, BC charity dedicated to fulfilling our mission: