Initiated in 2008 under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Pitman Potter, along with the collaborative work with St. Helen’s and St. Philips, our Parish of St. Anselm’s established the West Point Grey Neighbourhood Ministry and we at the parish enjoy ample opportunities to forge deep and gratifying friendships with those involved in this ministry. The Neighbourhood Ministry is now in its 10th year of transforming lives and St. John's Shaughnessy is now a participating church as well. We are a recipient of Care+Share grants from our Diocese.
Over 70 active volunteers give time to one or more of the many opportunities for service. Each week, an outdoor team of 3 to 6 people leave from one of these churches with care packets full of non-perishable food items and toiletries and items of clothing made up by members of our indoor teams for distribution to the homeless of the Dunbar/Point Grey/Kerrisdale area. A small group of Indoor Team members with the help of the congregation make up 15 packages every 3rd week. Each package contains canned fish/meat/sausages; juice boxes, pudding/fruit cups; toiletries (small size: lip balm, sun screen, Vaseline, hand sanitizer, tooth brush & tooth paste). During the winter months, we collect warm clothing, mitts, toques, underwear (medium), blanket, sleeping bags, socks and during the warmer months, water bottles, t-shirts, caps and sport socks. Last year we distributed more than 700 care packages.
The Outdoor Teams make a weekly trek through the neighbourhoods, distributing packets, clothing, blankets, and conversation to about a dozen “regulars” and new faces. The Outdoor Teams also help connect people in need with services such as housing, medical and dental care, income assistance, and retrieving lost ID, and over a dozen Outdoor Team members have taken training on how to navigate the process and complete paperwork. Tireless efforts by the dedicated people from all three parishes in collaboration with various levels of government and other non-profit organizations resulted in twenty-six men being housed in permanent supportive housing at 17th and Dunbar and at 7th and Fir in Kitsilano.
The Neighbourhood Ministry also continues to offer transitional support to many who have moved indoors over the past 5 years – both at the Dunbar Supportive Housing apartments and elsewhere. Our volunteers participate in twice-weekly dinner service, bingo nights, celebration of holidays, and “one on one” time with residents who appreciate the individual time to share the ups and downs of life. Financial contributions are made to the Dunbar breakfast program.
In late 2017, The Neighbourhood Ministry launched two new services: The Mobile Care Unit and the Angels Program. In partnership with the UBC Schools of Medicine and Social Work, the Mobile Care Unit is a traveling team providing basic medical care and social services to homeless and needy people in our neighbourhood who may face barriers to such care. Neighbourhood Ministry “Angels” are paired with clients who require extra support in accessing services for which they are eligible.
Please consider being a volunteer in the Indoor or Outdoor Teams, and experience God in our streets and amongst us.