On a particularly cold and windy day in Edmonton, Jason struggled to find shelter and warmth from the storm. He was soon found by the Hope Mission Rescue Van and was welcomed inside. Jason was offered lunch, socks, a dry jacket and a smile. Jason gratefully accepted and, once comfortable, shared some of his story with the friendly Hope Mission staff. He grew up in an alcoholic family. His father and brother were both members of a motorcycle gang and taking up their lifestyle was an option. But Jason tried to make different choices for himself. In spite of his best efforts and intentions though, circumstances in his life were hard and he fell through the cracks. "I never thought I would end up like this," Jason confided. Because of compassionate people like those at Hope Mission, there is a safety net to catch Jason and others in challenging times. At Hope Mission, men, women and children who need a helping hand can count on hearty meals, a safe place to sleep, and support from a caring community.
When days get shorter and nights get colder, and with the hustle and bustle of holiday season fast approaching, it can be easy to forget about those who are outside searching for warmth and a hot meal. 24 hours a day, in collaboration with other agencies, the Hope Mission Rescue Vans are here to help. Over 500 people are helped on average per month and this help can include everything from a simple pair of warm socks to a full meal and safe shelter from the cold. While the Rescue Vans provide essential support all year round, winter is a crucial month of the operation.
This year, Encor by EPCOR has organized to share the warmth with Hope Mission's clients in need. For 2 weeks in November, our new customers will have the chance to get a $50 credit for bundling their power and gas utilities with Encor, or they can opt to share the warmth by turning that $50 over to Hope Mission's rescue van program. As a Hope Mission partner, we at Encor have been touched by the important role that Hope Mission plays in our community and the stories of individuals who have been helped.
3 main functions of Hope Mission Rescue Vans
The Rescue Van works with the Edmonton Police Service, Emergency Management Service, and the general public to ensure that people in non-emergent crisis situations receive help. This alleviates pressure on first responders and helps to build relationships with people in need. Some people require transportation to hospitals or shelters, and some people are experiencing homelessness, but it is not everyone.
Between responding to crisis diversion calls, the Rescue Van travels the streets with the intention of building relationships with people. They utilize things like handing out bagged lunches, emergency clothing, and food as tools to connect with people. By building relationships and trust with people, they are able to lead them towards the help they need.
The Rescue Van provides program education to schools, health care professionals, and other organizations in the city to create awareness of poverty and homelessness in Edmonton.
How to help Hope Mission
Hope Mission is always in need of extra help whether it is volunteering or donations. Financial donations can be made online or by mailing a cheque to Hope Mission, PO Box 953, Edmonton AB T5J 2L8. The cost to provide a meal for one person is $2.70.
Non-perishable food donations can be dropped off at Hope Mission's downtown location (9908 106 Avenue) – ideally between Monday – Friday from 9 am – 5 pm. They always need clothing donations especially in these cold winter months.
Clothing and goods donations can be brought to 9908 106 Avenue (Monday – Friday from 9 am -5 pm) or 2403 Ellwood Drive (Monday – Saturday from 9 am – 5 pm). The top needs over the next few months are:
- Socks & underwear
- Sweaters, jackets, hoodies
- Winter items like scarves, hats, mittens, gloves
- Hygiene items like razors, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, feminine hygiene products
All your help is greatly appreciated!