This morning GoTeam Halifax split into two groups with the idea that we were going to paint in two locations. In Barry House, we soon discovered that painting their front porch and steps would be a much more involved process than simply coating it in paint. All the stairs needed to be done, and the railings and banisters pressure washed and sanded before painting. We decided on a small area that we could paint, but as the rain started pouring we were left asking “what now, God?”
In lieu of painting, Barry house then had a couple of us sort laundry, and the rest of this crew went over to Metro Turning point to help out the other half of the team assigned there.
Over at Metro Turning Point, the name of the game was heavy duty sorting. The men’s shelter had received such a huge donation of socks over the winter as a result of a Facebook campaign, that they had piled up in the storage room and made the space unusable. At first the task of organizing the storage room that was piled high with boxes was overwhelming, but the results at the end were so satisfying.
Tara, the woman in charge at the shelter was so excited to see the change! She told us that because there were only three staff members working with 80 men a night, whatever didn’t need their immediate attention ended up not getting their attention. The men’s shelter, one of only 3 in Halifax (as opposed to about 20 for women’s) does not often get many volunteers, though it is a resource they most definitely could use! Moreover, it serves an evening meal every night for up to 80 people, though there is no allocation in their budget (which hasn’t been raised since 2001) for food. Tara explained to us as she showed us the kitchen that it really wasn’t great but it was better than what they used to have, now featuring two stoves and one large sink. But supplies to provide coffee, snacks and dinner are badly needed.
The effort of the team was much appreciated but as reality sunk in, everyone realized that we are just barely scratching the surface. The need to support and partner with these facilities is great. Whilev we step out of the facilities our hearts sure are left behind. May God open this door much wide open for our church to reach out and be the arms and hand of Christ in these facilities…for surely the harvest is plenty but the workers are few.
We finished off the day with an eye-opening community walk led by Emily and Dorothy from ARK youth centre. We got to learn more about the work going on in our city. We learned how the north end is actually a great community and network that basically supports each other with a common objective to not only rehabilitate but more so to offer hope to people through a harm and risk reduction platform. Coming from a place of unconditional acceptance instead of judgemental stance offers people a safer environment to hopefully find hope in the midst of their desperate and dire situation. It’s amazing how much that we don’t see when we drive past this area in our city, that we notice when we walk through intentionally.
1. Barry House could really use a crew ready to construct a staircase and porch for the front of the house that allows for a safe entry.
2. Metro Turning Point could always use some volunteers! There is a large crawl space that badly needed organization and getting that space sorted and organize will definitely make a difference to this facility. (Just contact them to set it up, first!)
3. Metro Turning Point’s biggest needs are the simple things: coffee, coffee whitener, laundry detergent and toilet paper and HUGELY needed.
4. Since there are only 3 staff members, even sparing one to spend an hour and a half cooking for 80 men in a small kitchen is difficult. Prepared (healthy!) meals would be a great way to take a burden off some of the staff and will even help them financially! (Just contact them first to let them know!)
GoTeam Halifax 2016