Celebrating 35 Years: Enriching Lives Through Expanded Services

The Mustard Seed is celebrating 35 years of ministry this year. Every month we will post a story from our archives to highlight the amazing journey that has shaped our organization.

Excerpt from The Mustard Seed newsletter dated Fall 2008:

With Calgarians rising to the challenge of ending homelessness, The Mustard Seed is now able to run its emergency services completely out of The Seed Foothills Shelter and use its downtown location for progressive programming.

Calgarians like you have made it possible for us to respond to the needs of the homeless in our community. Because of your support, The Mustard Seed is now able to operate two facilities that allow us to better care for our guests and help them leave the streets for good. The Mustard Seed Foothills Shelter provides emergency beds, meal service, clothing and showers to guests, while the Centre. St. location offers education and employment programs to help guests reach their full potential.

Steve Griffin, The Mustard Seed Foothills Shelter Managing Director, says the decision to move all emergency services to The Mustard Seed Foothills Shelter made sense. “I think it’s just a natural progression of the ministry to affect change in people’s lives and move people off the streets and into affordable housing.”

Steve explains it helps to have a physical separation between emergency services and progressive programming, such as employment and education training. This way guests can see themselves progressing, perhaps starting at the Shelter, moving to the Centre Street location for more stable living accommodation, and then finally into affordable housing.

Mike is currently staying at the Seed Foothills Shelter. He sees the arrangement as a practical move. Shortly after moving into the Shelter last December he was able to find fulltime work two blocks away.

Even moving the clothing store to the Shelter is helpful for Mike who says, “Having the clothes to get changed into, say for a job interview, or having the clothes to go to work in, is much more convenient than having to go all the way downtown.”

Mike also notes the importance of moving to a larger location. The Centre Street location accommodated 85 emergency beds, while The Seed Foothills Shelter serves approximately 300 people. Another benefit is day beds. Clients who are ill, or are working a night shift, are able to stay in during the day.

Mike is now able to start planning and saving for his future. He is focused on moving into an apartment by August. “I owe a lot to The Mustard Seed for all of these things.”