During a blinding white snowstorm in the Lower Mainland in winter 2004, MaryAnne Connor got vision – not only into her own heart, but also into the desperate hearts of those she previously avoided – the street people of Surrey, BC. The course of her life, and countless others, was about to be dramatically altered. A highly successful real estate marketer, Connor paced the floor of her home that night, with one question plaguing her mind: “Where are they sleeping tonight?”
She soon found herself serving peanut butter sandwiches and handing out blankets from a Surrey church in the middle of the night, crammed with cold, hungry street people clinging to whatever warmth they could find. That night would be the first of thousands that Connor (known fondly to her friends as “Mac”) and a small faithful team would meet, serve and pray for those living on Surrey’s inner city streets
From those first winter nights of street outreach, NightShift was born. Named partly for the hours in which emergency care happened, NightShift also reflects the shift that happens in our hearts when we begin to serve needy people in our communities. Since its inception in 2004, NightShift has consistently provided not only hot soup and sandwiches, but love, hope and purpose to people caught in the cycle of poverty and addiction. NightShift Street Ministries is today known as the organization on the front lines of outreach and care for the vulnerable, addicted and homeless people in Surrey.
A registered not-for-profit society, NightShift today has a volunteer base of more than 2,500 individuals, including community groups and church teams. Nightly outreach happens 365 days a year outside our offices on King George Boulevard. We offer meals, clothing, crisis counselling, basic nursing, a mobile library, prayer and loving community contact. The continuum of care includes ongoing, registered Christian counselling with sliding-scale fees, men’s and women’s support groups, Bible studies, extreme weather response, a clothing ministry (Sisters Thrift Boutique) and much more.
Want to read the whole story? Check out MaryAnne Connor’s book, the Shift – the raw, gritty and life-changing story of how NightShift was born. Prepare to have your faith increased and your heart shifted.