I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. Yes, I realize this is a strange thing to say given I am a social media journalist and spend most of my work day on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest. I get tired of the ads, the click bait and the amount of junk you find on Facebook. But occasionally as I scroll through my news feed I find a gem like this:
I spoke with Greg Elford, pastor of New Heights Church, about this video and Hope Central.
“About 10 years ago a group of people at New Heights Church saw a problem in the community and decided they wanted to respond. There was food available for our street population during the week but nothing on the weekend. So Sunday nights we started hauling wagons full of soup, chili and sandwiches up and down the downtown streets and alleys. That went on for a couple of years and then we moved our operation inside.”
They moved their food service into New Height’s office space located on the main street of Mission, BC and began serving Sunday night suppers which then evolved to Saturday night. Shortly after that they began serving cereal and toast every morning.
“To make a long story short when Union Gospel Mission which was the place in town that was doing the meal during the week closed their doors, we responded by calling a meeting to see how the community would respond to their closure. Together we decided to try a short term solution of opening up our space during the week as it was already being used for food service. We opened it up during the week and invited different churches in the city, service clubs and individuals to all serve food out of Hope Central.”
Over the years, Hope Central has continued to grow and currently serves nine meals a week and a drop in twice a week. It is also a hub for other service providers in the community including doctors, dentists and mental health professionals, cooking classes, back to work programs and other workshops.
Hope Central funding comes from several different avenues including New Heights Church, other local churches, United Way, the city and individual supporters. They are always looking for more funding and applying for grants.
Hope Central exists because of its 100+ volunteers and their half-time coordinator. “The neat thing about Hope Central is it touches more than just the people who participate (those who make use of Hope Central) but it also touches people who volunteer and we have opened it up to the whole community to serve there.”
What’s next for Hope Central? New Heights church is currently trying to purchase the building where Hope Central is located. Stay tuned.