Not everyone living in Richmond has food on the table and a roof over their head. For some, a hot meal is not a sure thing three times a day, let alone daily, nor is a warm, safe place to sleep simply a given.
Homelessness and food security are very real issues, and sadly the pandemic has not been kind to our community’s most vulnerable.
The Salvation Army has been providing food, ministry and other assistance to those in need in Richmond since the 1950s, and they have seen an increase of 100% in demand since COVID-19 became a household word last year.
Richmond House shelter is presently full, with all beds in use by 45 men and women. Unfortunately, that leaves many folks without food or shelter, and Major Kathie Chiu, executive director of The Salvation Army, shares how her team are helping in a fresh new way.
“Through our Homeless Outreach Food Program, we provided almost 12,000 meals to people on the street who are hungry and need basic supplies like blankets, hats, gloves and other necessities,” Chiu says.
Chiu says that more than 50 people are homeless and living in the bush, under bridges and around the city.
“We are thankful to our funders, the City of Richmond and The Maureen & Milan Ilich Foundation,” Chiu says.
“Our partnerships with local community groups and churches are invaluable in providing these meals.”
The Salvation Army Community & Family Services also provides emergency food hampers and clothing assistance all year round. They also send almost 40 children to summer camp, operate a Back-to-School Backpack program, serve almost 100 meals a week with their weekly meal program, provide a Christmas Turkey Dinner to 300 people along with toys for children for Christmas, and offer support and advocacy for people trying to navigate the social services systems.
Donations and volunteers are needed to keep this project running efficiently. For those wishing to donate, just $25 will provide a hot meal to 10 people, meaning a little goes a long way.
You can donate through one of the Salvation Army’s local Christmas kettles. With fewer people carrying cash, they are offering a contactless tap-and-go option. This means, you are now simply one tap away from giving hope and help to neighbours in need.
You can also mail cheques or drop-off donations of any size at the Salvation Army Richmond at 8280 Gilbert Rd, Richmond, B.C., V7C 3W7 or on the Salvation Army Donation website.
For people who’d like to donate their time and energy by helping to prepare food or serve meals on the Mobile Canteen, please call 604-277-2424 ext. 104 or sign up at www.salvationarmyrichmond.org.