Hope for Everyone!
It’s easy to take everyday things we have for granted, like clean clothing, food & shelter, and expect that we will always be able to provide for these basic necessities but for many Edmontonians, this is not their reality. Their reality is having to choose between a roof over their head or food in their bellies. And for some they have neither. I don’t believe that anyone thinks they will end up in the category of ‘impoverished’ or ‘homeless’ but for the many people that do, through various situations and stories, they are not looking for a hand-out but a hand-up.
There are a few amazing groups out there that are trying to make a difference in the city and the one I’d like to highlight today is the Hope Mission. Hope Mission is a not-for-profit Christian social care agency founded in 1929 by Reverend Harold Edwardson. Reverend Edwardson established a soup kitchen serving meals to hundreds of people struggling with unemployment and homelessness at the onset of the Depression. Hope Mission is well-known for its emergency shelters and meal programs; however, there is assistance to get people off the street, preventative programs in place for children and youth, and much more. (This video is an overview of Hope Mission’s programs and services that are offered to help transform the lives of the homeless and disadvantaged in Edmonton.)
There are several ways you can help out, one of them is volunteering your time to “Serve up some hope by serving a meal.” You can volunteer individually or as a group. Volunteers are a huge part of Hope Mission, (in 2011 volunteers contributed approximately 29,119 hours!) helping bring hope to Edmonton and area. Check out their website for more information on volunteering and others ways you can make a difference!
I volunteer with a group from my church about once a month and I believe I benefit so much more from the experience than the people that I’m serving. To see these people up close and just to be able to say ‘Hi’ to them really makes you appreciate what you have. These people are waiting in line and are so appreciative of something so simple as a warm meal, I realize how much I take that for granted.
It’s easy to turn a blind eye to someone that is struggling on the street, to walk right by them without a second glance. It’s easy to maybe look down on these people as “lazy” or “free-loaders” but I think we forget that they are the same as you or I. That the roles could easily be reversed and you could be the one that’s looking for a hand.
As the saying goes; “Never look down on someone unless you’re helping him (her) up” –Jesse Jackson