HOPE worldwide Canada

Amended Sunday Suppers Program Continues During Pandemic

While over the past three months we’ve been under “stay the blazes home” orders in Nova Scotia, we are now moving towards slowly re-opening our communities and economy. During this global pandemic, the Sunday Suppers has continued to run, albeit in a modified “Take Away” format, as it’s been deemed an essential service by the Nova Scotia Department of Public Health and Wellness. The recipients of the suppers are some of the most marginalized people in our community, and the current conditions have made access to crucial supports very difficult, or unavailable.

Volunteers from the Halifax Chapter of HOPE worldwide Canada and from the Halifax-Dartmouth Church of Christ were able to recently adapt to new health and safety protocols and continue to find a way to serve. On June 28th, volunteers served over 160 cooked meals and an abundant supply of fresh fruit for the community. In addition, these volunteers provided much needed donations of toilet paper, toothpaste, and toothbrushes, and handmade non-medical face masks.

What did we do differently this time? Instead of gathering together as a group to prepare the pans, each volunteer picked up the supplies at one location in a take-away format from a safe distance. Once prepared and cooked, meals were dropped off safely to the Sunday Supper location, where a scaled down group of volunteers distributed the meals and supplies to our community friends in the take-away mode from a safe distance for all involved.

We are so grateful for one of our volunteers, Melva Wolfe, who since the Coronavirus Pandemic began, has been sewing dozens of non-medical face masks for the community and donated several for our guests at the Sunday Suppers.

Being able to continue to serve our community during the pandemic, when many other resources and locations that have previously served our community have been forced to close their doors, has had an impact on our guests. Here is what a few of them shared with the volunteers from HOPE worldwide Canada when asked about what having the Sunday Suppers remain open meant to them:

  • “Some of the other services are only open during the week. You being open and being here on Sunday helps me get through.”
  • “It means not starving. You guys are awesome.”
  • “What you do here helps me immensely”
  • “Many services are not open, whatever you give me, I’m really appreciative, this helps me get through.”

We are so grateful for our volunteers and supporters, who were flexible and able to adapt to the modified service delivery format to continue to serve and meet needs in our community!

What can we “take away” from this experience?

  • During these times, needs in our community are still there and still need to be met
  • The incredible serving hearts and flexibility of our volunteers allowed us to adapt to this modified format to continue to serve and meet needs in our community!

Halifax volunteers serving from a distance

Halifax

These are unprecedented times we are going through. How we have traditionally served and helped those going through challenging seasons in their lives has changed as well, as we continue to serve and “love our neighbours” while practicing safe physical distancing. Volunteers in Halifax have found several ways to do this and have been busy serving the community while keeping safe!

The Halifax Chapter of HOPE worldwide Canada is incredibly grateful for its many dedicated volunteers and generous donors!

With their assistance, since the COVID-19 virus broke, we have been able to (safely and with proper social distancing protocols in place) help our local community during these times by:

  • Collecting and donating Hand Sanitizer and Grocery Store gift cards to the “Adsum House” for women and children
  • Donating blankets to a local Emergency Pop-Up Shelter
  • Dropping off Tooth Paste & Toothbrushes, and Shaving Cream & Razors that were collected to the “Out of the Cold” Shelter
  • Making non-medical face masks at home and distributing them to those in our community who can use them
  • Purchasing, collecting, and donating Alcohol Sanitizer and Hand Soap for the local “Sunday Supper” program  

We believe that together, we can all get through this! Stay tuned for more ways in which you can help us help others as we are “Bringing hope, Changing lives.”

If you have any more suggestion on how our volunteers can serve our neighbours in need or if you would like to get involved with our Halifax Chapter, please contact marieelle.charlemagne@hopewwcanada.org or sanjay.thompson@hopewwcanada.org.

Meeting Needs in a Time of Physical Distancing

The impact COVID-19 has made on our world is unprecedented. Our entire nation is striving to stay indoors and maintain physical distance so as to ensure the safety of not only ourselves, but our neighbours as well. And while the pandemic has forced us all to stay at home, the call to serve our neighbours in need is as loud as ever.

HOPE worldwide Canada volunteers are answering the call by staying true to the mission of Jesus — transforming our world through love and support for our neighbours in need. As we have changed our programs in order to follow government and medical mandates, we have looked to other ways to meet needs in our communities.

HOPE worldwide Canada volunteers in Ontario are spending time while physically distancing making mats out of milk bags to be used by local shelters

Chapters across the country are providing critical volunteer support and community connection to food pantries, Child & Family Service agencies, shelters and other helping organizations. Volunteers are also creating neighbourhood collaborations to identify and help elderly and other vulnerable neighbours with day-to-day needs. Social media and online tools are other methods by which our volunteers are identifying needs they can address around their community.

The people, families and communities we love are in desperate need right now. HOPE worldwide Canada remains focused on prayer, as we know our God can do immeasurably more than we can imagine. We appreciate all the efforts and hard work of our volunteers and supporters as we all strive to overcome this crisis together. Thank you for your continued support!

Interview with Mackenzie Jessen on her time volunteering with HOPE worldwide Nepal

Mackenzie with students in Nepal helping them on the PC.

HOPE worldwide Volunteer Corps Interview Questions

HOPE worldwide Volunteer Corps’ main purpose is SERVICE in communities around the world. Volunteers gather from around the world to restore communities badly affected by material poverty; they teach children, train teachers, mentor youth, rebuild areas that have felt the impact of natural disasters among other areas. Each year, several volunteers from HOPE worldwide Canada offer to travel and to serve on several of these programs, some locally, others internationally.

We had a chance to catch up with one of our Halifax volunteers, Mackenzie Jessen, who travelled to Nepal and served there in July and August of 2019, and we wanted to ask her about her experience serving there.

First, thank you for volunteering on the recent HVC in Nepal! We could not do what we do without eager, dedicated volunteers like yourselves. What initially drew you to volunteer with on this Volunteer Corps?

For this particular HVC I wanted to go on it to challenge myself and travel to a place I never thought I’d visit ever before. As well wanting to go to use my strengths in leadership and to learn new ways to serve than I had done on previous trips.

What was your favourite part of volunteering on the HOPE worldwide Volunteer Corps?

My favourite part of volunteering was the excitement of the children’s faces whenever they saw us come to visit them and play games, their joy is so contagious and something I don’t get to see quite often, and feeling like us being there does impact their days. As well as, when I was helping with a computer class and teaching Photoshop to some students, I was able to learn things I didn’t even know from the students and it felt very accomplishing to see them grow and learn with something I take for granted every day.

Is there something you have learned or observed about the communities that we serve in that has helped you or had an impact on you in some way?

The biggest thing I noticed about serving in Nepal is how resilient the communities are, their drive that they have to work and learn is so amazing and they really don’t seem to take life for granted.

Is there a particular motto or thought that motivates you to volunteer with HOPE worldwide and can you share a bit more about that?

I’m just striving to be more like Jesus and serve in a way that can help me see the love the world has and the love that I can give. From this it gave me the chance to apply to become a GSI and allow myself to motivate others to do the same!

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions. Is there anything else you would like to add?

HOPE worldwide Volunteer Corps offers such a great opportunity and I honestly feel everyone should go on an HVC in their life no matter their age, it is such a life changing experience like no other.

Update: Since coming back from the HVC in Nepal, Mackenzie applied to, and was accepted into the HOPE worldwide Volunteer Corps Global Service Intern (GSI) Leadership development and training program; and will be helping lead the HVC to the Bahamas this coming July! She is also an active volunteer in her local HOPE worldwide Canada – Halifax Chapter.

The Power of Serving – Reflections from two volunteers with the Halifax chapter

The Power of Serving your community through volunteer work – a view from the Next Generation

For the past 18 years, volunteers from the Halifax Chapter of HOPE worldwide Canada and the Halifax-Dartmouth Church of Christ have been volunteering regularly at a local “Sunday Supper”. This is an opportunity for members of our community to come together and provide a warm meal and an even warmer smile for those in our community who may be experiencing homelessness or other challenges in their lives. Each week about 200 to 250 of our “Guests” will drop in for a meal and fellowship. Supporting the Sunday Supper program is the Signature local program of the Halifax Chapter of HOPE worldwide Canada.

We are grateful for all the volunteers who chip in to help make our support of this program possible. We had a chance to catch up with a couple of our Halifax volunteers, Jaylynn Skeete and Humberto Diaz to ask them about their experience serving with the Sunday Supper program and here is what they had to share:

First of all, thank you for volunteering with the Halifax Chapter, we could not do what we do without eager, dedicated volunteers like yourselves. What initially drew you to volunteer with HOPE worldwide Canada?

Halifax Chapter
Humberto Diaz

Humberto Diaz: “For the longest time I have always wanted to serve people and HOPE worldwide Canada provides opportunities for me to be able to do that”

Jaylynn Skeete: “Ever since I was young, my family has participated in HOPE worldwide Canada events, which I always enjoyed”

What is your favourite aspect of your time spent volunteering with us?

Humberto: “The chance to change the situation for those whom we are serving and the chance to change people’s lives”

Jaylynn: “Engaging with a wide variety of people from all ages and backgrounds and having the chance to hear their stories.”

Is there something you have learned or observed about the communities that we serve in that has helped you or had an impact on you in some way?

Humberto: “What has impacted me the most is that I get to live Jesus’ command to serve in Luke 14:13 “But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind,” (NIV)

Jaylynn Skeete

Jaylynn: “From serving in the community, I have observed many people facing immense trials and hardships in relation to poverty but have also seen them having joy. These individuals are enduring much more harsh trials than I have and many of them still manage to stand there smiling. This has helped me to have perspective regarding my own trials that may be far different than theirs. I can in some manner relate. If those facing much larger stressors and pain can continue to keep moving, they inspire me to do so as well. Individuals that I have talked to and connected with encourage me with their joy, love and strength during trials.”

Is there a motto or thought that motivates you to volunteer with  and can you share a bit more about that?

Humberto: “Serve God, Love People”

Jaylynn: “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19 NIV). I am motivated to serve and to love others because Christ has loved me. I am amazed by his love and it encourages me to strive to show that love to others. Volunteering with HOPE worldwide Canada gives me the privilege to do so.”

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions. Is there anything else you would like to add, to end our time?

Humberto: “Let’s explore how we can reach others who are even more vulnerable, like people in jail”

 

A Special Time To Serve for the Halifax Chapter

 

This past December volunteers from the Halifax Chapter of HOPE worldwide Canada and friends from our community had the opportunity to wrap up Christmas gifts and to sing Christmas Carols for the residents of the Aborstone Enhanced Care nursing home in Halifax.

For many, the holiday season can be a time joy and love, but for several people in our communities, it can also be a time that brings on feelings of great loneliness. We are grateful that we were able to visit the residents at Aborstone. We had the opportunity to sing with them, to spend time with them, and to spread Christmas joy which was evident in the smiles on so many faces as the residents joined along in singing their favourite carols.

A few days earlier, a group of our volunteers got together to assemble and wrap almost 200 individual gifts that we were able to hand out to the residents after we finished our caroling.

HOPE worldwide Canada had a chance to ask one of our volunteers, Lynne Gallagher, what this time of serving and helping meant to her this holiday season:

“Christmas was always a time that my mom made special for so many others. Helping out with this event was, for me, a special way to honour the memory of my mother, by doing something meaningful for others at Christmas.” – Lynne Gallagher, HOPE worldwide Canada volunteer

For more information about the Halifax chapter and to volunteer contact greg.taylor@hopewwcanada.org

HOPE Worldwide Canada at the 2019 Ride For Refuge

We would like to say a huge “Thank You!” to everyone who participated in this year’s Ride for Refuge.

Every year, HOPE worldwide Canada participates in this event to raise funds for local charities that provide refuge and hope for some of the most vulnerable people on earth.

This year over 104 participants of all ages joined our teams in Toronto Central (downtown), Toronto East (Ajax), Toronto West (Brampton, Mississauga), Halifax, Edmonton, and Winnipeg.. They rode, walked and enjoyed lunch together, a fun filled day for a great cause. Our teams raised just over $16. 355.

Here are a few pictures from the HOPE worldwide Canada teams across Canada. We look forward to seeing you at next year’s event.

For more pictures, please view the full album at our Facebook page here.

Halifax Volunteers coordinate and run their first “Dress for Success” Donation drive

2019 Dress for Success – Almost-40 bags and boxes of Donations later

written by Marie Elle Charlemagne

“I needed clothes and you clothed me…” Jesus of Nazareth, Matthew 25:36a (NIV)

On April 14 members of the Halifax business community came together at a local Halifax
restaurant as the Halifax chapter conducted their first donation drive in support of our local “Dress for Success” chapter. The mission of Dress for Success is to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.

The Halifax chapter’s goal through this Donation Drive was to strive to assist women in our community who may be struggling to make ends meet for themselves and their families. “Dress for Success” is a unique organization, in which they provide professional attire, support, and tools vital to helping women flourish in the work environment and attain a sense of economic independence. This volunteer-driven organization considers their work as “suiting women for employment, from the inside out.” The lives of many women within our community have been changed, not only economically but also by giving these women a sense of empowerment.

2019 DFS Supporters and Halifax chapter volunteers

“Dress for Success’ aim is to have an impact on the lives of women in our community through the type of assistance that we offer. We are so grateful for the support of HOPE worldwide Canada, for their support and for all the donors who helped make this event such a success. We had a great time and we had a lot of fun together. We also learned a lot about each other’s organizations. Most importantly, we teamed up and partnered together to have a positive impact on our community!”

– Brenda Todd-Saunders, Executive Director, Dress for Success Halifax

In the end, we had collected almost 40 bags and boxes filled with women’s professional attire of various sizes, attire suitable to wear to a job interview., in addition to accessories such as scarves, purses, and shoes.  These donations will go a long way to support women in our community and to help them take a crucial first step towards a better future. Thank you to everyone who came out to support us and here’s to our next “Dress for Success” Donation Drive!

Halifax volunteers donate over 2,700 hours of community service in their neighbourhoods

See the Need, Feel the Need, Meet the Need

By Kiyalyn Reneé Bump, Halifax HOPE worldwide Canada volunteer.

December 6th, 2017 marked the 100th anniversary of the Halifax Explosion, the worst disaster ever to hit our communities. Two munitions ships collided in the harbour during the First World War, catching fire and the ensuing explosion killed at least 1,950 men, women, and children, with thousands injured as well.

Overwhelming response and aid to the plight of the citizens of Halifax, Dartmouth and Turtle Cove soon poured in from across the Maritimes, Canada and the US Northeast (specifically Boston) in our hour of need. The legacy of appreciation for those acts of kindness continues to this day with the province of Nova Scotia sending a giant Christmas Tree to the City of Boston each year.

One hundred years later, volunteers from the Halifax Chapter of HOPE worldwide Canada, partnering with the Halifax Dartmouth Church of Christ set out to give 1,950 hours of community service back to honour those who perished in the Halifax Explosion, and to look for ways for our volunteers to continue let our lights shine and to be known across our communities for our hearts to serve. Our hashtag for the year was #ServingToHonour6Dec1917.

From Amherst to Windsor to Cole Harbour to Halifax and Dartmouth and Upper/Middle/Lower Sackville, Bedford and Bridgewater and places in-between, we got out there to serve!

The ideas were numerous and the creativity was inspiring!

Volunteers served at a local Drop In Foot Clinic, shopped for and prepared meals for and served at a local ‘Sunday Supper’, started a Hearing Test Clinic, volunteered as a local University football team chaplain & coach, gathered used clothing, helped at various Food Banks, packed backpacks for schoolchildren in need, donated time and energy by serving overseas, utilized their skills helping local non-profits in Web Design, prepared and served food for hungry students, sang Christmas Carols at a Seniors Home,  served in and around their neighbourhoods and in their local schools, fundraised to help those in need, the list goes on and on!

Chloe_Marie Elle & Nancy shopping for Food Bank Supplies

Marty Udall, Evangelist for the Halifax-Dartmouth Church of Christ shared these thoughts, “I believe that this is a great way to honour those lost in this tragic anniversary on it’s 100th anniversary by all of us rolling up our sleeves, helping those around us in whatever way we can; volunteering, serving and meeting the needs in our communities.”

Marty Udall volunteering with SMU Huskies Football

One of our volunteers, Cameron Taylor explains that his favourite service time this past year was volunteering with the Mobile Outreach Street Health (MOSH). “Going out to meet people was a testament to the level of humility Jesus showed in Philippians 2 and Mark 1:41.” He goes on to recall that his favourite memory would be when “one of the nurses showed me that making some scrambled eggs for a gentleman who hadn’t eaten in a few days, and sharing a conversation, was just as much a part of medicine as medications and blood pressures are.”

A goal of 1,950 service hours is what we set out to do. We knew it was ambitious for a church of 60 members, but we also knew that if we all did a little bit, and prayed about our goal, God would help us accomplish anything! When all was said and done, we were able to account for over 2,700 hours of community service! Without the hearts and dedication of our volunteers, we would not have been able to have such an impact on our communities! We are so grateful for our many dedicated volunteers and supporters and want to use this opportunity to say, “THANK YOU”! All glory to God for this huge success, and we are eager to see what he does with us in 2019!