Disposable cameras to tell indispensable homeless stories

Twelve clients of Kelowna Gospel Mission’s 30K Club were given a tool to link themselves to the rest of the community on Thursday.

Twelve clients of Kelowna Gospel Mission’s 30K Club were given a tool to link themselves to the rest of the community on Thursday.

The Gorman Brothers Doors of Hope campaign gave disposable cameras to the 12 individuals to photograph life from their perspective.

“It’s our hope that with this whole process, we as the general public, will gain a little more compassion and a little more information of what life looks like,” said Jessica Samuels, 30K Club coordinator.

The 12 participants have until Tuesday, Oct. 11 to submit their shots.

The best shot from each person will be used in a calendar, which will be available by mid-November.

“We gave them a long time because we wanted (the deadline) to be just past Thanksgiving. We thought during Thanksgiving there might be some photo opportunities for them,” said Samuels.

Some of the volunteer photographers instantly went outside and started snapping photographs.

Others didn’t take their camera out of the packaging; rather, began planning where they would focus their lens for 30 pictures.

John Jack, also known as Johnny Five, is one of the 12 participants taking photos. He said that he has already begun brainstorming where he wants to shoot.

“I want to go down the road to the Friendship Centre. Every Saturday they have free breakfasts. Every day they have free coffee at 9:30 a.m. A lot of people who have come here (also) go there. I want to get a picture of that building,” said Jack.

Jack said he will also get photographs of the beach area because a lot of people from Gospel Mission go there to hang out.

According to Jack, the Gospel Mission was hugely helpful when he was going through some tough times.

“I was homeless for about two months. For the first month and a half I was tenting in an orchard, but I didn’t like that situation. So I was homeless for two weeks downtown.

“They kept me fed when I was homeless.”

Jack said that his aim is to dispel any negative rumours about the Kelowna Gospel Mission.

“I’ve been living here almost three months and I’ve never had any problems with anybody. Everybody is great spirited. Sure, they have their on and off days, but who doesn’t? There’s a lot of good things going on here.”

The 30K Club was initiated in 2008. The group initially launched in order to raise money for affordable housing.

According to Samuels, Gorman Bros. Lumber has been an essential part of the 30K Club’s success.

“The Gormans are amazing. Gorman Bros. Lumber is a strong part of the community. They’re continually known in the community for their work practices and how they treat their employees. It was an easy fit to have them coming on board.

“The Gorman family has continually shown their support for the Gospel Mission and 30K and everything that we do.”

Ross Gorman was on hand to watch the 12 individuals receive their packages and start to plan out their pictures.

Gorman said that he felt it was important to be compassionate and help out with initiatives like this.

“We’ve been blessed. I think that we should share that with people that are less fortunate. It’s not that you’re any better than they are, it’s just the way the chips fall. We could all end up with hard times, I always keep that in mind,” said Gorman. “You could be next; you never know.”


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