WHALLEY – From food to haircuts to vet care for pets, Surrey Urban Mission is bringing services together under one roof for the eighth-annual Connect Day this Wednesday (Oct. 15) for those in need.
"It’s for people who are living in poverty, to come and connect to a variety of different resources they may not be connected to on a regular basis," said the mission’s executive director Jonquil Hallgate. "Often if you don’t have extra pennies, these are the types of things you skip."
Connect Day is held in conjunction with Homelessness Action Week, which runs from Oct. 12 to 18, and is sponsored by a number of bodies.
For Hallgate, the event is about being a good neighbour, as well as raising awareness.
"It helps keep the issue of homelessness and poverty out in the forefront," she said.
In addition to providing food and personal services, the event will feature resources such as health care, flu shots, service providers and more.
Though in its eighth year, this is the second
Connect Day at the mission’s new location, at 108th Avenue and King George Boulevard.
The new location is working out well, Hallgate said. "We’re way more noticeable on this corner," she noted.
The mission has seen an increase in terms of volunteers as well as users of its services.
"It’s huge. Before, a maximum number we would see at a meal would be 120. Now we see up to 300," Hallgate said. "And we’re serving five meals a week."
She believes that increase is due to being more visible, but also due to an increase in those that require their services.
"It’s just a sign of the times. A lot of people are really struggling, rents are high and people don’t have a lot of spare income…. Often there’s not money left for food," she said, explaining that while many might assume the mission caters to the homeless, they’re actually the minority of the people it helps. Many seeking its services are parents with young children, families struggling to make ends meet and newcomers or refugees – people living in poverty or on the brink of homelessness.
Connect Day will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 15 at 10776 King George Blvd.