VERNON - Those in need of a meal or simply a place to come in off the street will have greater access to the Upper Room Mission this summer.
The organization is extending its hours of operation for the summer, thanks to a grant from the Ministry of Employment and Social Development leading for two new summer students.
“Having two additional staff on hand has created more support as well as supervision, allowing the summer hours to once again be extended,” co-executive director Lisa Anderson says in a release.
Starting on Monday, June 12, the Mission will be open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday to Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. every Friday.
Breakfast and lunch will continue to be served at the regular times, 9 a.m. and noon, but dinner will be shifting to 4:45 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
“We understand that many people work until 4:30-5 p.m., so being able to offer this new mealtime during the summer months will hopefully be a benefit to those working minimum wage jobs and struggling with food insecurity,” Anderson says.
This is the first time that the Upper Room Mission’s doors will be open later than 6 p.m.
“We are very excited to be able to offer these extended hours for the summer. Currently Vernon does not have a drop-in centre that is accessible in the evenings, so we are very much looking forward to offering this service. We will be running a variety of new evening programs and hosting different themed nights, such as bingo night, feature film nights — complete with popcorn and other snacks, and much more,” Anderson says.
The summer students have been hired to work in the Mission’s outreach department, and will work alongside staff to deliver programs and vital services to those less fortunate in the community, Anderson says.
In 2016, the Upper Room Mission’s Food Security Program served more than 90,000 hot meals and provided assistance and support to many Vernon and surrounding area residents, Anderson says.
All services are free of charge, and people do not need to register to access food or any other service.
“We are averaging 350 to 375 meals per day. More people are accessing the Mission than ever before, and those numbers are projected to continue to rise. We are seeing a continual increase in the number of families, children, and seniors using our services,” Anderson says.
Regular hours of operation (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) will resume on Aug. 21.
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