BUILDING COMMUNITY. GROWING HOPE. SUPPORTING CHANGE
‘Tis the Season of Hope!
A MESSAGE FROM THE CEO
“Keep looking up … that’s the secret of life.” – Charles M. Schulz (Peanuts, Snoopy). I wouldn’t say that there’s a secret to life – however, looking up is a deliberate act. It literally changes our physical posture; our heads tilt backward allowing our eyes to look up – symbolizing an expectation – a hope, that our individual and collective stories extend beyond the limits of what we can see.
We look up, despite rising costs and the various challenges of the year that is almost behind us.
We are so grateful for people like you whom we can count on. Every day, people walk through the doors of The Mustard Seed looking for hope. And because of your generosity, we journey alongside them as they transform their lives and get back on their feet. The holiday season at The Mustard Seed is a time of great need – beyond the physical needs, our guests long for community. We have many unique ways to give during the holiday season that can provide more than a meal and shelter – your gifts also give love, joy, and hope for a better future. Here are some ways to share your blessings with your vulnerable neighbours:
Giving Tuesday - All cities
• November 29 - Giving Tuesday harnesses the impact of social media and the generosity of people like you to bring about real change in our communities. You can play an important role by partnering with us as a social media ambassador, a matching gift partner, a volunteer, a donor, or a fundraiser.
12 Days of Giving - All cities
• This incredible 12-day event provides an opportunity for you to give much-needed support for your local Mustard Seed in a variety of ways each day during the event.
The Gifts of Hope Catalogue - All cities
• The Gifts of Hope Catalogue empowers you to make a direct impact on a program that means the most to you – give a gift with purpose this holiday season at TheSeed.ca/gift-catalogue
Watch out for more information on any of these wonderful ways to give and for even more opportunities in your city, visit TheSeed.ca or give us a call at 1·833·GIV·HOPE (448·4673).
May God bless you and your loved ones this season.
Hope from my Ashes
It was one trauma after another that pushed Tracey to her breaking point: a debilitating back injury that led to an inevitable addiction, a life-altering divorce, a disturbing and unforeseen stalker, and last of all, unanticipated grief from empty nest syndrome.
“I was really struggling,” she says, putting it much too mildly. “I had too many traumas compounded that I hadn’t dealt with.”
“All this unresolved stuff that I’d never dealt with was coming to the surface,” she says.
“All the emotions that I had numbed down for 15 years were just at the forefront. So, I ended up hospitalized – I was certified for 2 months – and I lost my housing while that happened. I was evicted.”
On top of needing a home, Tracey was also seeking community. Thankfully, she was able to find exactly that with Mustard Seed housing.
Once moved in, she began to partake in the community events, along with volunteering to serve coffee.
Because of YOU
Today, Tracey is triumphantly 17 months clean and sober. You will consistently find her volunteering to serve coffee and distributing food hampers to guests accessing The Mustard Seed.
The Meal that Changed my Life
“Christmas dinner is great here,” says Joey, a Mustard Seed guest. “Dieter, the cook, he’s the best!”
Joey is a part of The Mustard Seed Kamloops family. Utilizing the programs and services for over 23 years, he is a friendly and familiar face that sadly had a tough start in life.
Growing up in foster care, he was in and out of homes and eventually on his own at 18. He survived, off and on, doing various odd jobs and trying to stay out of trouble; however, at 25, Joey found himself needing additional support and help in life.
Donors like YOU help provide vital services that help make lasting change possible!
“Because of the support and help I have received from the advocates at The Mustard Seed’s Health and Wellness Centre, I now have a picture ID and can access other social and government support,” says Joey.
He is also no stranger to the seasonal Christmas dinner provided every year. “They make so much food, enough for seconds and I have all the fixings,” he tells us. “I am always trying to get other people to come here for dinner.”
THIS CHRISTMAS, Shop with a Purpose
Kamloops | Edmonton
As you go out and buy your gifts for your loved ones, please consider stopping by one of our Thrift Stores. Both stores offer home goods, trendy clothing, and much more!
Refuge from the Cold
Through his tears, Joel shared the daily struggles and battles of not having a home.
“When you’re out and about around town, not having essentials is hard, especially when it’s -30,” he says. “And with the staff at The Mustard Seed providing us with everything we need, like hygiene, hot food, and a roof over our head, that’s awesome.”
Joel is a guest at The Mustard Seed Red Deer Shelter. When we asked what his experience has been like so far, he did not hold back.
“(The Mustard Seed) are very welcoming. They are not discriminative towards anybody. It’s a safe place for everybody, coming here makes it easier to be in the situation that I am in.”
The blistering frigid winter is without a doubt the most relentless and ruthless season for our community experiencing homelessness. Since the shelter’s opening, over 9,000 guests have accessed services, with winter being its busiest time.
“I know people who would camp out in the winter and that’s cold and it’s not easy,” says Joel. “To be welcomed, to feel comfortable, and be fed and given warmth … a big thank you that.”
Broken, but Full of Hope
Oliver’s only fault was being born into a family that couldn’t properly provide the care he needed and deserved.
Since he was a child, hunger and loneliness have been a part of his life. His parents asked his grandmother to take him in and raise him. But as she aged, she too became unable to properly care for Oliver. The heartbreaking decision was then made to move Oliver into foster care.
Struggling with feelings of abandonment, Oliver bounced around different group homes for years until one day, he finally had enough. “I had no choice,” Oliver says. “I got lost in the system and I had to run away.”
For a while, things were going well. Oliver had a job, a good group of friends, and he was training to become a firefighter. However, the trauma he experienced during his childhood inevitably weighed on him. Not having the proper tools and resources to heal, Oliver was pulled into a drug addiction that stole everything he had been working toward.
Broken but determined, Oliver turned to The Mustard Seed for help. Through hard work, he bravely cut drugs out of his life. Now sober and filled with hope, Oliver began to put the pieces of his life back together.
“The services here are really resourceful and my inner spirit is uplifted to help me get through the day,” says Oliver. “I get spiritual and emotional support, clothes, hygiene, and food. I’m trying to keep myself together.”
YOUR generosity encourages Oliver to keep on going.
Coming Together – finding purpose in adversity
“It’s not just the food, it’s the social contacts,” says Robin.
Since the grand opening of The Mustard Seed Medicine Hat Community Centre, Robin has been in attendance. He comes every single day for breakfast, but not by himself. He meets up with a couple of good friends along the way.
“Pretty well every day we come together,” he says. “The three of us are very appreciative of all the services offered.”
Robin is 80 years old and retired. Originally from England, he moved to Medicine Hat in ’82 for a job, working for the Canadian military just outside the city. For over 40 years he’s been a Hatter, mentioning the city has everything he needs, including a safe supportive place to have a warm meal and be a part of a caring community.
“I think having The Mustard Seed here was a very positive move,” Robin says. “They make us feel wanted. I don’t know what would have happened had The Mustard Seed not come in – a lot of people come here.”
In Robin’s spare time, he volunteers to help others. He offers his assistance at the Community Volunteering Income Tax Program (CVITP) in Medicine Hat. He has an innate nature is to support those who are in need, admitting “It’s nice to help people, I find – I like doing that.”
All we do at The Mustard Seed is because of you! Because of your support, we are able to care for and improve the lives of our vulnerable neighbours – especially during the holidays.
Thank You, for Giving Hope!