Our ecclesia was blessed to have donated 20 sleeping bags to the David Busby Centre through The Garden Outreach Project’s winter initiative.
Everything was well organized and straightforward. We received the sleeping bags within 2 days of placing the order on the Garden website. Wow! (Thanks Ani!!) Amazon packaged everything nicely in five boxes which made delivery a simple process.
However, winters up here can get quite cold (-30C) so we were unsure if the sleeping bags were warm enough (they were rated down to -7ºC). A quick call to the Busby Centre cleared that up. Candace Gordon, the Resource Development Coordinator, was absolutely thrilled with the donation. She jumped at the opportunity and assured us they would be put to good use – anything is better than nothing for those who sleep outside or in spaces that don’t have heating. Candace went on to explain they had just had a meeting about sleeping bags and where they would be able to find more before the cold weather hit…Our call came in later that same day!!!
Our family dropped the bags off on a Tuesday evening and Candace was kind enough to explain what the Centre does and the people it serves. There are about 300 people in Barrie who are without shelter each night and it was certainly was an eye opening experience to see how these people are cared for, the services that are available, and, most importantly, their every day struggle for basic necessities we often take for granted.
Along with the sleeping bags, we also included a dozen Bibles, a dozen ‘Bible Hope’ books and 20 flyers we created that briefly described ThisIsYourBible.com. There were no issues leaving behind this material although we may suggest ecclesias connect with the outreach organization beforehand to double check what their policies are on collecting and distributing religious material.
The most inspiring part of all of this, outside of the opportunity to practically help people in need, was how our kids responded. They saw firsthand the dire situation of the ‘hidden homeless’; men, women and young people who so often fly under our radar. They also saw the tremendous amount of work that goes into assisting people in need, every single day, and the critical role of volunteers who help clothe, shelter, feed and counsel the poor and needy.
Judah (10) was particularly moved and inspired by the experience. Immediately after getting home that evening, he wrote up a speech and went to neighbours on our block and asked for donations for the Centre. Through other fortuitous circumstances, which we humbly thank God for, and no small amount of hard work, Judah collected more than 50 articles of new clothing (thanks Mark’s Work Warehouse!!), perishable food items, and personal hygiene products.
It’s amazing to see how a simple act of giving can turn into something much bigger. It can inspire our young people, and very young people, to show acts of love and be comfortable doing so. If ecclesias can be encouraged to include their young people in these initiatives, perhaps in some small way, it will help keep them engaged and focused on a life of faith and charity, following in the footsteps of our Lord who gave to people in need, continually and without second thought, irrespective of their beliefs or social standing.
On behalf of the Orangeville Christadelphians, thank you to The Garden Outreach Project and the WCF for making this wonderful initiative available to our community. God-willing, we look forward to supporting future initiatives in 2021.
Jason & Sylvia Grant