BUILDING COMMUNITY. GROWING HOPE. SUPPORTING CHANGE
Read about Leah's story
Security and a Warm Meal Restore Hope
It was a matter of life and death. Leah landed in Canada in September 2021, after fleeing a gravely dangerous situation in South America, and was in immediate need of shelter, food, and financial support.
“I didn’t have a place to sleep, and I didn’t want to sleep on the street,” she says. “I wasn’t prepared for this kind of situation as a human being and especially as a woman.”
Placing her faith in God, Leah bounced around hotels and shelters for a couple of weeks, praying God would keep her safe and guide her to the haven she desperately was in pursuit of.
At last, Leah found solace at The Mustard Seed Foothills Shelter, confessing “God was the one who brought me to that place.”
“I was so tired, and I was finally able to sleep – I felt secure,” she says. “I thought, this is a warm place to stay, and nothing is going to happen to me while I’m here.”
Once she was comfortable, Leah began connecting with staff and utilizing the programs and services available to her at the shelter, which promptly resulted in her finding safe and affordable housing.
“It was very quick,” she told us. “Because of The Mustard Seed, I am where I am now.”
Today Leah has happily settled into her new home at the 1010 Centre supportive housing and is working hard with an Employment Coach to find a meaningful career. Additionally, she accesses The Mustard Seed Wellness Centre counselling services to heal and move forward from prior trauma.
“I went from having no place, to having a place to go – that was incredible,” she says. “I did not smile for a long time, or laugh, for many years. But now, things are improving and getting back to normal.”
Read about Shawn's story
The Right Support to Get Back on Your Feet
Shawn came to The Mustard Seed looking to get back on his feet – that's when he connected with our Employment Program.
“The Employment Coach took the time to understand what would work best with my disabilities,” says Shawn. “That was so refreshing. Being treated like a real person was such a boost to my confidence.”
Shawn struggled with disabilities that made it difficult for him to gain employment. He was often overwhelmed by the processes involved and would end up feeling frustrated – and defeated. His previous attempts to get help were unsuccessful. He knew he needed help but had lost hope that he could receive the kind of support he needed to regain his independence and be able to provide for himself.
The Employment Coach helped Shawn with everything from prepping him for what to expect in an interview to getting him proper clothing. All of which were vital in preparing Shawn to enter the workforce. With the right support, Shawn felt he now had the right tools and the confidence to take the next steps toward building a better future for himself.
I am very grateful that The Mustard Seed and Christ's love were able to get me back on my feet. I will always be thankful to my Employment Coach and The Mustard Seed.
“The Mustard Seed let me open up to them and never once made me feel frustrated. I was able to feel more like a person and not just a number after every visit.”
Through it all, Shawn says The Mustard Seed never gave up on him.
“To this day, the Employment Coach still keeps in touch with me to see if everything is going well.”
“I am very grateful that The Mustard Seed and Christ's love were able to get me back on my feet. I will always be thankful to my Employment Coach and The Mustard Seed.”
The Mustard Seed Edmonton’s Prairie Manor is a new supportive housing building that offers residents affordable housing with wrap-around supports. Located in the Strathcona Junction area, Prairie Manor provides much needed supportive housing units for those experiencing poverty and homelessness on the south side.
To learn more about Prairie Manor visit: TheSeed.ca/prairie-manor
Read about Brian's story
A Safe Place to Start Over
“Life was rough before The Mustard Seed. I was heavily addicted to narcotics, and I was surrounded by others using drugs.”
Brian grew up in Kamloops and struggled for years with mental health issues and subsequent substance abuse. Brian did not like his life or where he was, he yearned to be free — and get clean. He hit rock bottom when he was evicted from his apartment due to drug use and was homeless for 5 months. A Mustard Seed employee approached him and offered a place to live and recover through The Men’s Recovery Program, based out of The Mustard Seed Kamloops Outreach Center. It was through this program that Brian finally turned his life around.
The Men’s Recovery Program at The Mustard Seed became a safe place for Brian. He was able to enroll in several programs, including the Relapse Prevention Program to get the help he needed.
Brian continued with the Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings, attended church, dropped his ‘old associates,’ and got new ones who were clean and sober. “I have new friends, Brian says proudly. “Friends I now call family.”
Brian attributes a lot of his recovery to The Mustard Seed, and his adoptive parents. “I am pretty good at managing my own money now and I no longer have any mental health problems.”
He believes his success is due to the programs at The Mustard Seed, and the help and support he received through his time in the Men’s Recovery Program. The Men’s Recovery Program provides programs like the 12-step program, NA meetings, one on one accountability, study groups, other self-help courses, and spiritual and emotional support for men enrolled in the program.
Brian now has a stable job that he loves, and is grateful for each new day.
“If you want to change, they can help — It’s amazing, I am a totally different person now,” Brian states. “My life has changed drastically because of The Mustard Seed. I haven’t looked back since.”
Read about Jane's story
hold on to. A lot of people get so depressed that it’s so easy to give up. You are reaching out – giving hope – and we are grabbing on to it.” This is Jane’s message to donors who make such a profound impact on the lives of those who thought they had lost hope. Jane was once unemployed, homeless, and hopeless. With the support of The Mustard Seed through different programs like shelter, meals, and health and wellness support, Jane found the path out of homelessness to growth and stability.
Homelessness had never been the situation Jane ever thought she would find herself in. She had a home, a car, and employment to support her simple and humble life, but it wasn’t until the pandemic hit that her foundation was shaken. She would usually take on challenges in life and conquer them, but she dealt with situations she had never encountered which were discouraging. She was unemployed for 11 months and unable to afford rent. Soon after, her car was repossessed leaving her stuck with nowhere to go. The piling uncertainties and fear resulted in crippling depression and sadness that drove her to what she saw as the bottom of the barrel, which was homelessness.
It was Jane’s pastor that directed her to seek support at The Mustard Seed. Like a domino effect, one blessing came after the other. From being provided meals and having shelter, Jane found dignity. Through tears of joy, Jane shared that “During the darkest two months where I couldn’t get out of bed, the shelter and the meals gave me dignity. I lost a lot of that. Knowing that there are people that put their time into making and serving meals and sitting down to chat brought back a lot of dignity that I didn’t have for a while. There are people that know you are closer to getting out and they’re genuinely cheering you on.” With the support of The Mustard Seed, Jane got
back on her feet, found employment, and started renting a place that she can finally call her home. Jane gives credit to the staff and volunteers’ encouragement and the donors’ support for the blessings that have been coming her way.
For Jane, “They're like a light; we are stuck in the maze and their light is what shows us the way out.”
You have no idea how you can give enough grip for someone to hold on to. A lot of people get so depressed that it’s so easy to give up. You are reaching out – giving hope – and we are grabbing on to it.
A vision to build resilient families & communities.
Currently in the building stages and on track to open in spring 2023, Ogden Hub:29 will be a 5-storey multi-use building with a dedicated 3 storeys of permanent supportive housing for families facing extreme economic challenges. When you help build Ogden Hub:29, you will join a special group of community leaders who are going above and beyond to end family homelessness and poverty in Calgary. Your impact will be felt for generations.
For immediate impact, give online at muchmorethanahome.ca.
New Women's Shelter in Kamloops
BC Housing has partnered with The Mustard Seed Kamloops to provide a 12-bed facility, with shared living and eating space, laundry services, and a shared washroom facility. This new women’s shelter will also provide meals and wrap-around services through our new Health and Wellness Centre. Check out TheSeed.ca to learn more.
New Women's Shelter in Kamloops
The Neighbour Centre Strathcona is The Mustard Seed Edmonton’s first permanent shelter! It will provide 50 overnight shelter spaces for men and women experiencing homelessness.
The Neighbour Centre Strathcona will be offering supports such as: showers, laundry, food related education and programming (including meals), footcare, addictions and mental health programming, space for combating social isolation, a focus on client centered approach to goal setting, housing and advocacy.
Read about Trevor's story
A Full Stomach and Full of Hope
Breakfast at The Mustard Seed Community Centre has become a consistent and integral part of Trevor’s day-to-day. Arriving around 9 a.m. every morning, it’s how he starts his mornings to ensure he has the energy and focus to conquer the day.
“Breakfast is the biggest key in the mornings,” he says. “I feel blessed knowing I always have something to eat.”
Trevor has lived in Medicine Hat for 15 years and in fact, lives right down the street from The Mustard Seed Community Centre.
“I saw them putting up the (Mustard Seed) sign – so I came in and it was very warm, and the people were nice and polite,” he told us.
Trevor admitted things were tough and a bit of a struggle before coming to The Mustard Seed Community Centre. But as he began coming for daily nutritious breakfast, he started to find that not only was his belly full, but he was prepared for the days, has found a sense of community, and felt supported in all the areas of his life.
“If you don’t have something to eat at home, there’s nothing wrong with coming to get some help,” he says. “And if you need to find a support group, this is a very good place to come for guidance.”
Admitting he often makes a point of saying hello or flashing a smile at individuals who are experiencing homelessness and poverty, Trevor has a soft spot for the vulnerable community and is passionate about spreading kindness.
“People struggle,” he says. “And at The Mustard Seed, no one is being judged.”