Photographs to show journey from homelessness to wholeness

The Second Annual 30K Club, Gorman Brothers Doors of Hope campaign kicked off today at the Kelowna Gospel Mission.

Chantell Crawford snaps her first picture outside the Kelowna Gospel Mission Friday. Crawford is one of the participants in the Second Annual 30K Club

A lot has happened to Albert Palmer over the past 12 months.

“I was a blubbering mess,” said the 58-year-old, who didn’t have a job or home one year ago.

Now Palmer is employed, he sleeps with a roof over his head and he even has a pet cat.

Palmer was one of several volunteers to receive a disposal camera through the Second Annual 30K Club, Gorman Brothers Doors of Hope campaign Friday.

The event provides 12 individuals with disposable cameras. The volunteers are invited to take photos that illustrate life from their perspective.

“The experience is very positive on several levels,” said Jessica Samuels, 30K Club coordinator.

“First and foremost, for our participants. They have the ability to…really get their message out and told from their point of view.”

Palmer plans to use the camera to tell his story and show his gratitude to the Kelowna Gospel Mission.

“These guys helped me out big time,” said Palmer.

“I went from being completely devastated to where I can look at somebody without being sad.”

He added he aims to show the positive side of a Kelowna area that is often thought of negatively.

Chantell Crawford is another participant in the Doors of Hope campaign. She hopes to use the skills she attained from a photography class in high school to snap powerful pictures.

“Photography is one of my passions; I just can’t wait to get out there and take pictures to show people what we go through every day,” said Crawford.

Life went downhill for Crawford when she lost custody of her son while living in Winnipeg. After that much of her life was spent on the streets, but through the Kelowna Gospel Mission’s 30K Club, she was recently able to move into a house with her fiancee.

“The 30K Club is all about the next step,” said Samuels.

“Three of the people here today have recently been housed, really that’s the next step. It’s getting people off friends’ couches, off the streets, out of the shelter here at Kelowna Gospel Mission and getting them some housing.”

The top photograph from each camera will be displayed in a calendar, which will be available Nov. 16 at participating book stores.

Less than 100 calendars were sold last year at $10 each. Thanks to sponsors, 100 per cent of those funds went directly back to the Kelowna Gospel Mission.