To the editor:
More than 400 people in Kelowna are either living on the street or at a shelter. With a town with so much wealth how do people of all ages go cold and hungry? Globally, Kelowna ranked as the 38th most “severely unaffordable city.”
Some might say the obvious answer would be for the homeless to go get a job or use the resources that our taxes pay for. However, people should consider what it takes to simply get a job—not only a nice outfit and a complete resume. There needs to be a phone number where the employer can contact you or a place to shower, not to mention getting a full night’s sleep, safely.
I am a recovering addict and while in my addiction I was homeless. There were a few resources that were lifesaving. One was The Drop-in Centre (which is closed due to funding). Not only did they provide free clothes, a warm breakfast and lunch, but the staff truly cared about every person no matter what their situation was.
When I was on the street I depended on the Drop-in not only for the shower and fresh clothes but for the feel of safety. The staff always kept track of all the homeless, and when I was going through some traumatic times they would come and find me to make sure I was alright.
The other one was the Gospel Mission which is now one of the only resources for the homeless. In fact, over the past 10 years the number of meals served there has gone up by 88 per cent.
The Food Bank is another resource that is under strain. Vonnie Lavers, the Food Bank’s executive director, says “with economic uncertainty, sudden illness, and unexpected life situations any one of us could find ourselves needing temporary help.
To struggle is no one’s goal in life. Funding is needed to help organizations help build solid foundations for those who want help.
Instead of handing coins to strangers and wondering as you walk away where that money is going, donate food, clothing, money or time. If we as a community let the people who struggle fade away then what does that say about our society on a whole?
If you are looking to give back this holiday season here is the website where every penny counts. www.kelownagospelmission.ca/donate.