May 28, 2016 - 9:30 AM
VERNON - A non-profit organization that provides meals, shelter and support to those in need says demand is skyrocketing.
Vernon’s Upper Room Mission has seen a 31 per cent increase in the number of meals being served out of its soup kitchen compared to the same time last year. Director of resource development Lisa Anderson says they are averaging roughly 350 to 375 meals a day.
“More people are accessing the Mission than ever before, and those numbers are projected to continue to rise. We are seeing a dramatic increase in the number of families, children, and seniors using our services,” Anderson says in a release.
One of the only places people could find shelter during the day time, the non-profit was forced to close between meals earlier this year after it was denied a gaming grant from the provincial government. Now, Anderson says they are able to reopen, at least for the summer.
“Two summer students have been hired to work alongside the Mission’s Outreach Department, creating more floor supervision, and allowing the hours to once again be extended between meal times,” Anderson says. “Between meals we will again be offering a day shelter, a safe environment for people to come in and meet with outreach staff, play a game of cards, socialize, or simply have some down time.”
The women’s drop-in centre, Charlotte’s Place, will also be in full swing this summer, with programs running every Wednesday and Friday.
“We recognized the impact that our not being open has had on our clients, the community, and our partners, and are very happy that we are able to re-open. We plan to take the next 10 weeks to restructure our services and source alternative funding,” Anderson says.
The Mission’s hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Friday. Breakfast and lunch will still be at the regular times, 9 a.m. and noon.
“The supper service will now be served at 5 p.m., in hopes the new time will allow more of the working poor to access the meal service,” Anderson says.
Monetary donations are graciously accepted, Anderson says. More information about how to donate can be found here.
“We are truly grateful for the continuous support we receive from our community in helping those less fortunate,” Anderson says.
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