This Winter, while so many homes across our community will be filled with warmth, the love of family and comforts many of us take for granted, many less fortunate will once again be relegated to spending frigid nights without shelter.
It’s almost impossible to believe that in this day and age, an estimated 279 adults in our community are living on the streets.
We are accustomed today to seeing children playing on iPhones, or neighbours pulling into the driveway in fifty thousand dollar SUV’s, or friends inviting us over to watch a hockey game on the latest model big screen TV.
And while it is everyone’s right in a free country to indulge, it is everyone’s moral responsibility to care for those less fortunate.
As Unitarians, while we come together with varied beliefs and views, we must be united in our support of those in need and we must celebrate others in our community who make the effort to support the disadvantaged in our own community and beyond.
This month, we showcase and celebrate Inn From The Cold (IFTC), a community organization that honours the inherent dignity of all, where individuals, especially the most vulnerable, are safe, respected and included.
Inn From The Cold’s mission is to respond to the needs of people who are experiencing, or are at risk of homelessness, in a welcoming, compassionate and mutually respectful manner.
The Unitarian Fellowship of Kelowna has strongly supported the Inn From the Cold Program since its inception in 2001. A core group of Kelowna Unitarians joined in this inter-faith project, initiated by a Unitarian Catholic, to provide homeless people with a safe, warm place to sleep during the winter.
When the program began, Kelowna Unitarians provided IFTC with volunteer support at the St. Charles Garnier Catholic Church (and occasionally in our own church). In small teams we set up the sleeping area, helped with supper, and stayed overnight to provide security. In the morning we gave folks breakfast and cleaned up. We welcomed folks in to the Inn and saw them on their way in the morning with bag lunches. We made soup and sandwiches, collected clothing and blankets to share, and we talked and visited with these members of our community.
We remain committed to the program today.
It is our practice to donate the proceeds of our December or January “Special Collection” to IFTC. This year the Special Collection is on December 13th. We will also be sending along donations of warm clothing.
We encourage all congregation members to spread the word about Inn From The Cold. Homelessness is a tremendous social injustice in a modern, prosperous society and Kelowna Unitarians must take direct action to reduce the plague of homelessness here in our city.
Inn From The Cold can be reached online at http://www.innfromthecoldkelowna.org/. They can also be found on Facebook