Gord never felt like he fit in. Both on the street and off, he struggled to find a sense of belonging … until he found NightShift Street Ministries.
Gord found himself completely homeless in 2021. Previously, there had always been a safe place to land – a family member’s house, or a friend’s couch. This time, however, was different. Motivated by a longing to be near his daughter in Metro Vancouver, Gord decided to pack up his life on Vancouver Island and move to the Mainland, but he was unable to find housing.
“When I first became homeless, I just walked around for a few days. It was confusing,” Gord explains. “I saw a lot of people and how they behaved, and I didn’t want to fall into that.”
Gord often feels isolated as a person living without a home. “Sometimes I get judged (on the street) for not doing drugs,” Gord says. “I experience it on a daily basis, actually.”
Feeling like an outsider extends beyond street life. Gord shares he often feels judged by people through facial expressions, body language and comments for simply not having enough bus fare. “I’ve been judged for wearing the same clothes,” Gord explains.
Last September, Gord’s friend told him where he could go for a hot meal, clean clothing and a sleeping bag. That place was NightShift. He went with his friend to the evening outreach meal.
Gord found more than a nourishing hot meal and clothing at NightShift – he found friendship and non-judgemental community. Gord describes how great it was to find a hot meal and a warm welcome.
“There is no judgement, and the volunteers truly seem to care. It’s like people who carry a little bit of home with them, and it feels really good,” Gord shares. “I’ve only missed like three meals since I started coming here.”
Will you join LOVE365, NightShift’s family of monthly donors, and help our neighbours in need? Our friends, like Gord, are seeking friendship, nourishment and a place to belong.
It wasn’t long after coming to the evening hot meal outreach, that Gord first encountered NightShift’s daytime drop-in space, the Welcome Centre.
Gord was walking by the NightShift building in Surrey one afternoon, when he noticed a sidewalk sign reading Welcome Centre. He looked in the window, and saw people talking with one another, and sipping hot coffee. He stepped inside.
“It felt welcoming, like a coffee shop,” Gord recounts. “You know, those cafes you go to every day, and everyone knows you and they’re expecting you? It felt like that.”
Nearly every weekday since that afternoon, Gord has come to the Welcome Centre to catch up with friends he’s made, chat about current events, books, finances and even faith. “I don’t go to church right now, but I come here,” Gord says.
The Welcome Centre is an important place for friends like Gord. It offers a place every weekday afternoon, to come inside, connect with friends, play games and music, engage in art projects and talk with caring volunteers. The Welcome Centre hosts special evening programs, like Movie Nights, free haircuts, professional foot care and vision screening. It’s also a place where people in need can connect with NightShift’s resource workers to navigate life’s challenges.
Gord shares the ways that connecting with NightShift’s community of care, through nightly outreach and the Welcome Centre, have impacted his life.
“I have faith that everything is going to work out,” Gord says. “I may not know the plan, but I have faith that God has a plan for me. Coming to NightShift helps me build that faith.”
At NightShift, we believe the power of community is transformative, and Gord’s story is a shining example of this. Despite grappling with feelings of not fitting in, both on and off the streets, Gord has found acceptance and friendship at NightShift. Now he has a supportive network of friends who accept him for who he is.
Gord’s story is just one of many who have found nourishment, connection and support at NightShift. Overcoming isolation is an ongoing challenge in our communities. NightShift is committed to creating a sustainable solution.
Will you join NightShift in providing a hot meal every night of the year, providing support to navigate life’s challenges, and creating a community where everyone has a place to belong?
This Easter season and beyond, you can help share the hope of human connection, every day of the year, by becoming a monthly donor.
By signing up for monthly donations, you can create a direct impact in the lives of people like Gord.
Gord has found more than a hot meal and a safe community at NightShift – he has also discovered a renewed sense of purpose. He often helps with set up and clean up in our Welcome Centre, where he actively participates in Art Class. And soon, Gord will put his skills as a knowledgeable gardener to work as he assists with Welcome Centre’s first ever indoor garden box!
“I can contribute to what NightShift is doing,” shares Gord. “I have dreams just like anybody else. One day, I would like to do something like NightShift is doing here.”
Human stories, like Gord’s, remind us of NightShift’s mission to “love unconditionally and help each other find hope and purpose.” You can help keep that mission alive by making a one time gift, or joining LOVE365, NightShift’s family of monthly donors.
This Easter season and beyond, your generous giving and prayers help secure help secure a sense of love, hope and purpose for those who need it most.
As we prepare to celebrate Easter with our friends and families, may we remember what Jesus accomplished through his death and resurrection: He broke barriers to invite all of us into the hope of new and everlasting life. It is this amazing reality that we celebrate at NightShift – a place for all to be welcome and to encounter the love, hope and purpose provided by Jesus.
Thank you, with all our hearts, for being part of that!
By joining LOVE365, you can care for your neighbours in need today