Posted on March 26, 2021
Owen has been coming to NightShift’s nightly outreach for over 15 years. The hot meal and the community he finds here nourish his hunger and his need for connection.
NightShift’s hot meal outreach provides Owen with a sense of comfort and stability, especially during a difficult pandemic year. “I suffer from asthma, and with this COVID thing, I’ve never been under so much stress, so coming to NightShift really helps me. I love the food, and the people are the nicest I’ve ever met.”
Not long after moving to Surrey from Manitoba 20 years ago, Owen was pick-pocketed, losing his wallet, his money and all his ID. Owen had come to BC to help his sister through a mental-health crisis. That, and his own struggles with alcohol and finances, compounded the loss of his wallet.
Without ID, Owen, a day labourer, was unable to do things many of us take for granted – open a bank account, apply for government benefits, or vote.
Owen tried for years to get a copy of his Manitoba birth certificate. No one, he says, could help him. Until he met Evelyn, NightShift’s Outreach Coordinator.
“After being turned down by every agency and person I asked for help, I came to NightShift and met Evelyn, and she said, ‘I can help you.’ And she came through.”
After several meetings with Evelyn, phone calls, emails and signing documents, last month Owen finally got his long-awaited birth certificate! Even thinking about this brings tears to his eyes. “I’ve tried to get that piece of paper for 20 years.”
Owen says his experience with Evelyn and with NightShift’s evening outreach volunteers have given him security, belonging and hope. Most nights, he comes to NightShift for the hot meal and the companionship – something he says helps him with the loneliness of being a bachelor, and the nutrition he needs to work another day.
“The people at NightShift are all caring and true in their heart. You get treated like a human being, with honour and respect, no matter who you are. It’s like church when you come here.”
Owen says the care he receives at NightShift have inspired new hope and purpose inside him — to one day join NightShift as a volunteer, and help other people in need. “I don’t want to retire yet, I still want to work. I decided about a year and a half ago, if I could straighten myself out a bit, maybe I could come and volunteer at NightShift.”
This Easter and beyond, you can help share a hot meal, love, hope and purpose with Owen, and hundreds of others in Surrey and Langley.
Will you join LOVE365, NightShift’s family of monthly donors? $35 a month provides 10 vulnerable people with a hot meal, clothing and access to further support, 365 nights a year.