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.

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

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!

Halifax volunteers expand ways to meet more needs in their community

2019 March_Cameron Taylor & Foot Clinic Volunteer Qendresa Sahiti

Eighteen years ago, volunteers from the Halifax-Dartmouth Church of Christ started to serve at a local Sunday Supper. Each Sunday evening, people from the surrounding communities who may be experiencing homelessness, or going through challenging times, or just need a warm meal and an even warmer smile are invited to drop by a local church hall. Over the years, this Supper has grown to serve almost 10,000 meals a year.

Five years ago, the Halifax Chapter of HOPE worldwide Canada took over the responsibility of fundraising, procuring, preparing and coordinating the serving of the meals when our turn in the weekly rotations came up; continuing upon the foundation laid by and increasing our partnership with the Halifax Dartmouth Church of Christ.

2019 March_Marie Elle Charlemagne

One of our volunteers, Marie-Elle Charlemagne recently shared that “most impacting moment of this past year” was serving at the Sunday Suppers. “This year my grandad passed away and my grandma was close to it, too. I decided to volunteer and took just a few moments one night to look at the people around me. The laughter I heard as our guests sat around the tables with their friends and family, telling stories and enjoying their meals, the smiles on the kids’ faces as they bit through their dessert, in those moments at Sunday Suppers, my heart was no longer consumed by grief and sadness but filled with warmth and joy.”

The Sunday Supper program has become the “flagship” community service program that HOPE worldwide Canada runs locally. One of the benefits of the level of engagement from our volunteers is to experience the ways that they are able to use their natural gifts and talents to meet more and more needs in the community.

As the Sunday Supper program has grown over the years, so too has the ways in which our many volunteers are able to “step up” and to meet these needs. One example is with a Foot Clinic that was set up to meet the needs of the Sunday Supper guests. This past September, the Foot Clinic was due for a “reboot” and one of our volunteers, Cameron Taylor (a second year Medical Student at Dalhousie University in Halifax) took over the operation and organization of the Foot Clinic, with several of his classmates and other students with an interest and calling in Health and Medical studies assisting him.

2019 March_Jennifer Anyegah2

Another example is a new Clinic that we recently started at the Sunday Suppers. HOPE worldwide Canada volunteer, Jennifer Anyegah (a local Audiologist), observed one Sunday night that what she’s been trained in and does for a career could benefit the quality of life for some of the guests who were there, so she decided to start a “Hearing Test Clinic” run once a month at the Sunday Suppers. Jennifer shared, “I think the thing I appreciate the most about the opportunity to serve in this way is the way it gives those who are so often oppressed and forgotten in this society access to an aspect of health care that they might not necessarily go after or succeed in getting on their own. I appreciate the opportunity to make sure the people I see feel valued and that their health care needs are important.”

We appreciate all the ways in which the volunteers from the Halifax Chapter of HOPE worldwide Canada and from the Halifax-Dartmouth Church of Christ look for ways to meet needs in our community, and are willing to step up to meet those needs in a practical and compassionate way!

Immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine

HWWC Bluenose 2016_Jenn Anyegah & Meghan Naugle
HWWC Bluenose 2016_Jenn Anyegah & Meghan Naugle

HOPEworldwide Halifax Chapter raises almost $ 19,000 for HOPE India and Halifax Projects

Back in May of 2015 volunteers from our Halifax Chapter, inspired and impacted by the time some of them had spent serving in India, decided to run in the Bluenose weekend with a goal of, “10km for $10k” They had never organized a fundraiser together and many had never run, walked or jogged 10km and that year, their efforts were blessed by raising $10.5k.

The specific projects that we were fundraising for in India were the Tigri School in Delhi, which provides educations, life skills and a nutritious mid-day meal to children living in the largest slum in South East Asia; the Asharan Orphanage, also in Delhi which provides custody, protection, education and rehabilitation to children who are under their care; and the Gowahati School, which is a newer project that HOPE India has started to meet needs in that community.

hope-worldwide-of-canada-sue-tregunno-scotiabank-charity-challenge-coordinator-greg-taylor-hwwc
Hope worldwide of Canada – Sue Tregunno Scotiabank Charity Challenge Coordinator & Greg Taylor HWWC

So in May of 2016 our team of 10 decided to run and fundraise again to again raise funds for HOPE India Projects as well as a portion for local HOPE benevolent efforts in Halifax. With our many supporters, great volunteers and very generous donors (THANK YOU) the HOPE worldwide of Halifax team finished 3rd place in overall fundraising for the Scotiabank Bluenose Marathon Charity Challenge. At the end of the summer, members of our team were on hand at a special luncheon to honour all the prize winners, to receive the award, which included an award cheque from the Bluenose sponsor – Scotiabank. Including the award cheque, our team raised just short of $19,000 Canadian. Thank you “to him who is able to do more than all we can ask or imagine”

“What I learned from running – what I kept thinking as I was running, was that the physical exertion I was feeling (especially toward the end) is nothing compared to the physical and psychological exertion those living in poverty feel every day of their lives. It is one way of ‘sharing’ that pain, albeit short. Also, seeing the photos and hearing about my friends HOPE trip to India made the fundraising more personal, and gave me confidence that I could ensure my donors that the money was going to be used wisely.”   – Jennifer Anyegah, HOPE worldwide of Halifax runner & fundraiser

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“The Tigri School has grown to over 330 students from about 150 in the past two years, and is able to offer many underprivileged children who live in some of the most challenging situations in our world, the opportunity to get a basic education, learn important life skills, provide a nutritious mid-day meal and a happy, safe environment which greatly enhances their development. We are grateful for the support of man partners, like HOPE worldwide of Canada which makes these dreams and goals a reality.”                Sober Satheesh (Shibu) | Program Director | HOPE worldwide India

The Heart of Compassion – Serving In The Philippines

Patty Burrage from Halifax shares her reflections after an incredible time serving with HOPE Youth Corp (HYC) in the Philippines. 

Patty Burrage

I was really excited in December when I heard that Philippines was a December site for Hope Youth Corps.  I had always loved and appreciated their culture as I grew up in a church in Ontario where there was a thriving Filipino community. As a result, the desire to visit this place was planted in my heart for years.  While serving on the National Youth Advisory Council (NYAC), which is part of HOPE worldwide, God continued to open my eyes and heart to the needs of underprivileged communities in my own neighbourhood as well as on a national and global scale. I no longer wanted to live in the comfort of my cushy North American lifestyle but wanted to help the poor and vulnerable and see God in a whole new way.

Serving In Cebu

There were over 60 volunteers from different age groups that came to the Philippines from all over the world.  While we were there, we were involved in a many service projects in the northern city of Cebu called Daanbantayan, including:

  • Helping the fishermen in this area by re-painting their boats
  • Implementing service projects for children in the community
  • Helping renovate the new HOPE worldwide Philipines centre.

My favorite project was when my team was assigned a family to build a house for in a span of three days. I would have never dreamed of having had the opportunity to learn how to build a house, but it was amazing to learn from the two men who were helping us. Our team also built extremely close ties with the family and and their neighbors. The amount of love that these people showed us as we were there was incredible and life changing. They gave so much to us and, in spite of the fact that they knew very little about us, were so willing to share their lives with us.

Personal Spiritual Journey

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” -Ephesians 3:20

This scripture immediately came to mind because this is exactly what He did when He allowed me to visit the place of my dreams while being challenged in a capacity that I had been praying for.

I remember feeling surprised by how much energy I had despite the visible sleep withdrawals and long days. I felt as though God had stretched my heart to love others in a way that I did not think was possible under the circumstances.

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During my time in the Philippines, I realized that I am someone who tends to be focused on altering my behavior as opposed to changing my heart. I recognize that God was calling me to recognize that I needed to be broken by God and repent of my self-reliant nature. I was not called to be perfect, but God was calling me to a spirit of humility and of vulnerability. This is something that I wish to emulate and grow in as I am back home.

I saw the fruit of my reliance on God as I served with my whole heart, mind, soul and strength. I was able to build unforgettable relationships with one particular group of kids. They filled my heart with more joy than I could have ever hoped for as they loved me unconditionally, laughed with me and overflowed with gratitude. God taught me to give in a way that I never thought I could and I was deeply enriched by those that I was serving. I was there to help, but little did I know that they would be my teachers for the days that we were at their home.

Bottom line is that God can do amazing things when we surrender ourselves fully to His plan. This place will forever be the place that stole a piece of my heart and that taught me the value of surrendering myself over to God. I caught a glimpse of the Lord’s compassion, which is abounding and infinite, and I hope to continue to grow in this area.

 For more information on HOPE Youth Corp click here