Matt Reimer and Melanie Gero of the Kelowna Gospel Mission hand out hamburgers as part of the Homelessness is No Picnic Saturday, at the Jubilee Grandstands in City Park. - Credit: Carli Berry/Capital News

Picnic sheds light on homelessness

The Kelowna Gospel Mission held a BBQ today in City Park

Homelessness is no picnic.

At least, that’s the statement the Kelowna Gospel Mission made when it held a BBQ in City Park, Saturday.

The aim of the event is to bring awareness to the fact that despite the warm weather, homelessness still exists in the city.

“Everybody’s in the feel-good mood but forgets there are those that are still homeless,” said Gospel Mission executive director Randy Benson.

“We tried to be creative and think of a way we could thank the community and also have exposure to the community on what we do, so we came up with the idea for the picnic.”

Guest George Pierce came out to enjoy the BBQ after being unable to attend a powwow in Kamloops.

Pierce has been sober for 40 years and volunteers at the Gospel Mission as a dishwasher, he said.

He also tries to help those who are in rough situations, like he once was.

“I talk to people that’re down and sick,” he said.

He brought his drum, decorated with an Indigenous design of an orca to play at the picnic.

Pierce said the Gospel Mission and mainly the Friendship Centre helped him overcome his struggles.

Around 2,000 burgers, bottles of water and chips were purchased for the event, said Gospel Mission kitchen manager Mandy Phillips.

When her supplier ran out of chips she asked for more, she laughed.

The bright sunshine was also a way for those helped by the nonprofit to have a change of scenery.

“It’s a nice change for them, it’s a picnic for them,” said Benson.