The Kelowna Gospel Mission fed 389 people experiencing housing insecurity an Easter dinner on April 16.
“There was a real lightness and joy in the air,” said Executive Director Carmen Rempel.
“Easter dinner was a success.”
Rempel explained that the team at Gospel Mission and their supporters go above and beyond to ensure the night is special for the guests. Each guest was given a decorated placemat with a personalized message written by members of the community.
Rempel said one of the Gospel Mission residents said, “wow, it’s like we’re important or something,” when he saw the decorations and meal organized by the Mission staff.
“You are important,” Rempel told him.
Rempel said that everyone deserves to have a nice meal and to feel safe and loved. The opioid and toxic drug crisis in B.C. has been difficult for the staff and residents at the Gospel Mission and the Easter dinner was a way for people to connect and support each other.
“The staff does the best they can but sometimes we lose,” she said about the people lost to drug overdoses from the community.
Additionally, Rempel said that temporary winter shelter services in the city closed March 31, leaving some vulnerable people without a warm place to sleep most nights.
The staff also brought meals to people in temporary shelters outdoors because COVID restrictions prevented non-residents from attending the events.
“Usually we would have the doors flung wide open for all members of the community,” said Rempel. Their goal is to have a “normal” holiday meal for Thanksgiving.
The Gospel Mission relies on community support, donations and grants to host extra special meals like the Easter dinner. Donations can be given at kelownagospelmission.ca.