Community is at the heart of everything we do here at NightShift Street Ministries. For nearly two decades, NightShift has provided healthy community for vulnerable people to move forward in their healing journey. We value these friendships.
Friendships with people like Bob.
Bob first began coming to NightShift several years ago after a friend told him about our nightly dinners. He came for the hot meal – but he stayed for the people.
“I come here pretty well every day,” Bob says. “I came one night, and I enjoyed the food, but I also got to know a lot of people around here… I’m a social guy. I’ll talk to anyone!”
Over the years, Bob has connected with our staff, volunteers and many of our friends on the street.
Bob found that in addition to the nightly hot meal, NightShift’s daytime drop-in, the Welcome Centre, provided a safe space to build friendships and share some of his story.
It was 25 years ago, at a bus stop that Bob met Joy, a beautiful woman who wore bright, colourful clothing. As her name would suggest, Joy brought an immeasurable amount of happiness, love and hope into Bob’s life. At the Welcome Centre, Bob shared how his relationship with Joy has changed his life.
Throughout his life, Bob had struggled with addiction on and off. His past addiction stemmed from growing up in an abusive foster home as a child. At a young age, he was introduced to marijuana which seemed to help numb the pain he felt inside. What started out as recreational substance use, led to a heroin dependency later in life.
For a time, both Bob and Joy struggled with this same addiction… until one day, Joy decided she had had enough.
“Joy quit first,” Bob remembers. “She went cold turkey – and I just couldn’t believe it. She was a total inspiration to me. I thought ‘if she can do it, maybe I can do it too.’” And that’s just what he did. With Joy as his inspiration and catalyst, Bob got started on the methadone program and has been able to stay off heroin ever since.
Bob’s story speaks to the value of friendship and connection in our lives – and that’s what NightShift is all about. Providing love, hope and purpose through intentional community.
LOVE365, NightShift’s family of monthly donors, are a group of caring neighbours who know that offering community and a hot nutritious meal can be life changing.
You can care for your neighbours in need today.
By giving to NightShift every month as a member of LOVE365, you can provide people in need with a hot meal every night.
“NightShift has done a lot. They’ve put clothes on my back, I’ve seen them put clothes on other people’s backs. They gave me a hot meal when I was hungry. They don’t say no, and they’ve always got a positive attitude. They’ve done nothing but good as far as I’m concerned.”
At NightShift, we believe love, hope and purpose should be freely given to anyone and everyone, regardless of circumstance, and without judgement.
While recounting his own struggles with substance abuse and addiction, Bob insightfully shares that everyone struggling with addiction or living on the streets has a story about what brought them there. Sometimes the best thing we can do is reach out, listen, and be a good friend.
Recently, he shared with us one of his greatest passions: Indigenous art. Bob’s mom was from the Carrier Nation. Growing up in foster care, he didn’t know much about this part of his Indigenous culture. All that changed 12 years ago when Bob was in a correctional facility. “I wasn’t a good boy back then,” Bob shares. “But that’s all behind me now.”
During his time in jail, an Elder took Bob under his wing and began to teach him about Indigenous art. It became a source of healing for Bob on his journey. Since then, Bob has developed his talent and filled his home with his own artwork, from hand-crafted drums to jewellery and more.
Focussing on art has helped Bob work through many challenges in life. He remembers the grief of losing his Mom many years ago. “When she died, I got her Bible and her wedding ring. I know I’ll see her again one day.”
He has dreams of one day opening his own gallery where he can showcase his own creations alongside the work of other Indigenous artists.
Bob was thrilled to learn that NightShift’s Welcome Centre will soon be hosting an art class. He knows that when people use their hearts and hands to create, beautiful things can happen. “An art class will be awesome,” Bob says. “When I am in art mode, I just have got to focus.”
Bob’s story has been so impactful to the NightShift team — especially as we ponder Easter, and the Hope and new life that can spring out of even our most difficult times. Bob’s story journeys through adversity and loss and follows the path of Hope. We are so grateful to him for sharing with us.
This Easter, NightShift shared a special dinner with Bob and over 225 other friends in the Surrey and Langley communities.
If you have joined LOVE365, our family of monthly donors over the past month, your support has made a world of difference in providing a hot meal and creating community for people who need it most. Thank you.