We recently asked some of our Street Hope visitors the above question. Here is what they said:
It means a lot to me. On Tuesday and Thursday evenings when I am hungry I come here and get a better night sleep because I have something in my belly – David. It means I don't go hungry on Tuesday and Thursday nights – Christine. Very nice people with sandwiches – Anonymous. Nourishment – Kyla. Kindness – Sean. It means you care about the people – Tony. It means a lot to me because I remember when you weren't here in August. I really missed you – Don. It's a place to come and meet friends, both clients and volunteers. It's a place to nourish my body and sometimes it's a place to come to relax, even though there is commotion going on, it’s a relaxing environment – Bruce. Free food and lots of it. We get choices. Good food. And the joy of family type people. Mostly, it's enjoying good times because there is never any negative stuff here – David. Generosity in action. True Fellowship. Through the action of a compassionate art – Norman. Food and comfort - Donny. Friendly people and good hot food – Liam. A chance to meet people and get free food – Leo. A place that I look forward to. Each time I feel enriched with the spirit of hope, love and belonging and I am grateful for your care and attention. Thanks, and bless you – Don. It keeps people alive. Hope is what keeps us going. It's that little bit of a push sometime. It's like that guy who is looking for work but he can't look for work when he's hungry. Real hunger interferes with a lot of things. Food is really important to people – Rudy. It means something to look forward to. It means good people, good food and support. Support for all our needs. Food, clothing and you listen to us when you can, when it’s not busy. I've been coming to Street Hope since the 1990s. I don't know where else I would go on Tuesday night. You guys are all my extended family - "Batman." It restores my hope. Being in a situation where you are surrounded by a lot of negativity when you are homeless it's easy to forget nice people and good things in life. Street Hope has me looking forward to something for the first time in a long time. It reminds me of my old life. It's important to have light at the end of the tunnel. Street Hope encourages me to get back on track and make goals. Street Hope allows for intimacy through one on one connections – Nina.
Rebecca isn’t new to Street Hope; she has been with us for over a year, making room in her fourth-year studies of biology at UVic to come out on Tuesday evenings. She brings a bright spark to the RV, and has the gift of engaging people and listening well. You’ll have to ask her the story behind her start at Street Hope (it’s a good one!), but what keeps her coming back week after week are the inspirational people she meets. “I hear heartbreaking stories, but also beautiful ones. Being here feels like you are part of something real versus being a student.” We are so thankful for Rebecca, and her commitment to helping out. We love having her!
As the earlier quotes from the Street Hope visitors illustrate, food plays an important role in showing them that they are cared for and encouraging them to make healthy choices. Would you consider supporting them by contributing to the costs of Street Hope for the coming year? Our food costs/year are $6,000. Donations can be made towards the current top three sandwich toppings of choice - peanut butter ($920/year), nutella ($925/year), or cheese whiz ($863/year)! The food is packaged with a lot of love, prayers and support, and carried on the wheels of our RV. This is another area which you could donate towards. The approximate cost of keeping the RV going over the course of the year is $2,000. You could also sponsor one whole week of Street Hope ($400). Online donations can be made through CanadaHelps and PayPal. There is a link on our website (www.streethope.ca) which allows you to make a donation. OR Send a cheque/money order to Threshold Ministries with a note saying it is for “Street Hope Victoria.” Thank you for your continued involvement in caring for people in need in Victoria.