Moving From Charity Into Community
If you have walked or driven past our Community Ministries office, no doubt you have seen the lineups for blocks and blocks of seniors, families and those experiencing poverty to get food and resources from The Salvation Army. These are our cherished neighbours, the reason we exist. Without their support and strengths, we would not have an identified mission, “To welcome neighbours into a community of hope.”
Improving a person’s wellbeing involves so many commitments—Boundless Vancouver endeavours to engage in our neighbour’s holistic wellness. We must do much more than hand things out. We need to involve our neighbours in the conversation about their strengths and hopes. How are we going to do this?
This New Year, we will,
- Continue resource provision with the added focus of learning about our neighbour’s demographics through data collection and offering membership to our programs and services.
- Create focus groups that create conversations about the hopes and dreams of neighbours and volunteers.
- Empowering our neighbours as board members on the program committees from which they benefit.
- Involve our neighbours and volunteers in events of mutual learning, celebration and reflection.
- Promote our life-changing, holistic wellness program, Pathway of Hope. Families that sign up receive free life coaching, strength, and goal-based supports to realize new possibilities and are empowered to make tangible changes that build capacity and help all members of their family reach their potential.
All of this requires some changes in staff training, roles and workflows. Don’t worry; nobody is dispensable. Our team will be working on envisioning where we are and how we can focus on working together to realize our vision: Deep Life. Wide Love.
We are also making a commitment to our space and place in the neighbourhood. Renovations are not the answer to better service, but because we know, we will be offering more workshops, counselling, community meals, programs where neighbours play, celebrate and pray, we need to restructure our environment. The Salvation Army, along with other funders, will be investing $1,500,000 in creating a space where our neighbours are welcome, dignified and resourced to share with their neighbours. There will be fewer lineups as we become a hub for our community to go deeper in life and go wider in love.
Our values: Hope, Service, Dignity and Stewardship drive our mission. We’re exploring our culture of Relationships and Transformation. We are listening to our neighbours. Even though lineups demonstrate demand and numbers can help give us significance, we explore innovative ideas and invest in giving everyone a better experience. We want to offer much more than a warm greeting, groceries, clothing and furniture. Those resources do go a long way to alleviate stress and poverty. But poverty is much deeper than materials.
Poverty is about disconnectedness. When people are not connected to the resources they need, they experience malnourishment, homelessness, and other vulnerabilities. In being disconnected from creation, place and neighbourhood, they lose their fit in the world. When people are not connected to others, they feel bored, lonely, and isolated. When people discover their vocation and are limited from using their strengths and contributions, they experience disillusionment and a lack of self-esteem. When people are disconnected from Jesus, they miss out on the fulness of hope, love, joy, and faith. The deep love and mercy of God relieve spiritual poverty in this life and the next. This experience is Boundless; it affects every sphere of one’s being and is the opposite of poverty.