St. Andrews church parish volunteers help package items for people trying to move on from transitional housing to permanent residence. Photo: Contributed

Kelowna church helping people change their lives

Programs exemplify community service ideals of St. Andrews Anglican Parish congregation

The St. Andrews Anglican Parish may seem like a small church situated on Lakeshore Road in the Mission.

The Kelowna church has been around since 1911, with a cemetery behind the church where members of some of the city’s pioneer families are buried.

But though small in numbers at 150 members with more than half over 65, the parish continues to punch above its weight in supporting two significant outreach programs to help local residents change their lives.

“The heart and soul of any church in our community is to be a supportive hub for people,” said St. Andrews Rev. Anne Privett.

“We can’t separate worship from service. They are two sides of the same coin for us.”

One of those outreach programs is called the Welcome Bag Project, as each year the parish assembles about 120 cloth bags filled with basic toiletries and personal items which are distributed to Alexandra Gardner Transitional House, Willowbridge Transitional House and the Penny Lane Facility operated by the Okanagan Boys’ and Girls’ Club.

When extra bags have been available, they are sent to the Inn From The Cold.

The bags contain full size items for people trying to transition in their lives from living in a shelter to their own permanent residence such as shampoo, a toothbrush, notepad with pens, deodorant, socks, playing cards and dental floss.

Christine Ross, the St. Andrews minister of community outreach, says all the items are full size containers, and parish members sew together the cloth bags so they are sturdy enough for other uses, such as packing groceries.

Each item is identified by the social agency recipients as one that is badly needed by their life transitioning clients.

“The point of this program is to give people going into transition housing some of the basic necessities since they often arrive at these facilities with usually little or nothing in the way of personal items,” said Ross.

The other project is Start-Up/Move On kits, six of which are distributed to the same agencies each with $1,000 worth of house start-up items that are either new or in quality working order, including dishes, cutlery, radio alarm clock, pots and pans, kitchen utensils, laundry necessities and a basic tool kit.

Ross says the myriad of items for the kits are collected over a seven-week period, then parish volunteers spend a week sorting donated items, and develop shopping lists of other items needed to fill out list requirements.

“We spend a day packing each kit into two Rubbermaid containers, which are also a gift to the recipients,” explained Ross.

“What does not fit into the containers is packed in separate cardboard boxes, so a full kit is usually seven to eight boxes which are delivered to the agencies.”

Ross says these two projects alone present a huge challenge for the church, driven by a collective desire of parishioners to make a difference by helping be a part of people trying to make a huge transition in their lives, whether it be a mother and her children escaping from a domestic abuse situation or someone above above age 18 who is homeless and beyond the age eligibility to qualify for provincial child social support services.

Ross says the congregation began these two programs back in 2010, soliciting local agencies to attend the church and outline their service needs to the parish.

“One of the aspects of this which is magnificently marvellous is the parish donated the money for these two project in addition to what is given to directly support the parish. It is extra giving on their part.”



barry.gerding@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Central Okanagan School Board to vote on approving $275.6 million, 2020 budget

The amended budget is almost $11 million than the original proposed budget

Kelowna couple watch in horror as dog gets attacked

It’s alleged a large breed dog viciously attacked two pups on Monday morning

Kelowna buisness named finalist for Small Business BC Awards

Twirling Umbrellas is one of five buisnesses chosen for the Best Company Award

Disability proves no barrier for 12-year-old Kelowna sit skier

Samuel is a 12-year-old double leg amputee who independently sit-skis

West Kelowna man charged with attempted murder of 79-year-old mother back in court

Kevin Lee Barrett was charged in April 2019 after allegedly beating his mother, leaving her stranded

Behind the scenes: The ‘unsung heroes’ of the South Okanagan Events Centre

Large numbers of local workers benefit from the big productions that come to Penticton each year.

Immigration program not taking away North Okanagan jobs

The pilot is helping employers overcome a skilled labour shortage that can’t be filled solely by residents

Vernon-based company nominated for B.C. small business award

Summit Tiny Homes is one of five finalists for the small business award

Kelowna couple watch in horror as dog gets attacked

It’s alleged a large breed dog viciously attacked two pups on Monday morning

Harry and Meghan should cover their own security costs: NDP heritage critic

The prince, Meghan Markle and their eight-month-old son Archie are reportedly staying at a mansion near Victoria

EDITORIAL: Examining finances

Municipal budget will likely mean higher taxes

Summerland’s proposed budget requires $16,382,355

2020 budget is nearly half a million higher than the 2019 municipal budget of $15,905,410

Theo the 800-pound pig trimmed down and still looking for love on Vancouver Island

“He’s doing really well, lost quite a few pounds and can run now.”

Hudson’s Bay spotlights old Vernon store

Old downtown department store remembered fondly

Most Read