10 dedicated volunteers from our Toronto chapter recently visited The Good Shepherd Ministries, a homeless shelter in downtown Toronto. The group was under the guidance of Warren Jones, who diligently recruits volunteers to serve at the shelter every month. They cheerfully completed their assigned duties and completed what turned out to be a satisfying and emotionally charged day.
The Shelter of the Good Shepherd feeds 1200 poor and homeless people per day. They have permanent and temporary housing for over 100 homeless people. They also have temporary housing for individuals with addictions.
They feed the poor around the clock. Their milk bill alone is almost $90,000 per year.
Our volunteers help in different ways, making beds, doing laundry, sorting food, kitchen duties and serving a meals to the poor and homeless. On Saturday July 16 they made almost 70 beds and bonded deeply with the staff. On Thursday, July 21st they served meals to about 550 diners in the kitchen.
During their visit they also met with the overseer of the Good Shepherd Centre, Father Ed of St. Paul’s Basilica. He gave a deeply emotional update about the centre and disclosed some shocking statistics about drug abuse and homelessness in Toronto.
For example, the majority of addicts die in their 40s and they once experienced 12 deaths in five days. They often use their chapel for funerals for the homeless persons as most of them have no families.
He also told them about an incident that occurred last week. He met a homeless man that had overdosed on drugs. He brought the man to St Michael's Hospital where he was admitted to the drug addiction centre. The man was released in the morning and went back to the Good Shepherd. A conflict occurred between this man and a resident of the Good Shepherd. Father Ed was able to intervene and deal with the situation. Father Ed was able to find out the man was vulnerable and in a suicidal state. The man is in trouble with the police and one of our Hope worldwide of Canada volunteers, who is a litigation lawyer, offered some support.
The Toronto chapter is proud of the involvement of young people of all ages in their activities and families coming out together to serve the less fortunate. Our team also included two young people. Harrison, 13 years old, and his younger brother Hayden King really stood out. Their zeal and their meticulous work electrified the whole team.
The next volunteer shift at the Good Shepherd will be on September 17 2016. If you would like to join the Toronto Central volunteers, please email Warren at firstname.lastname@example.org