LANGLEY – The Gateway of Hope has been open for five years and the facility’s birthday party Dec. 2 was a chance to showcase coming changes.
The milestone was a chance to bring together all those who helped bring about Gateway and tell about the ways Gateway wants to improve.
Local and provincial politicians, businesspeople and folks from community groups gathered with the staff to enjoy an anniversary luncheon prepared by some of the people who have benefited from Gateway programs and services.
“It does not seem possible that is has been operating for five years already,” said Langley MLA Mary Polak. “I commend the Salvation Army for their dedication and hard work on behalf of our marginalized citizens.”
Education Minister Peter Fassbender was at the anniversary event. He was mayor of Langley City during the planning and construction of The Gateway of Hope, and noted how the community came together to make the facility a reality.
“We supplied the building, but the Salvation Army put the heart in it,” he said, adding “I feel so fortunate to be a part of this journey.”
The facility offers an emergency shelter as well as life skills and jobs training, services to families in need, school supplies, a greenhouse, counselling and more. There are even programs to help people fill out their tax returns, and two doctors and a nurse practitioner provide medical care there twice a week.
Despite all it offers, Gateway staff want to do more and launched a strategic planning process, gathering input from stakeholders including users. The organization is also seeking donations to accomplish the changes.
There will be some capital improvements to make the facility more homey and welcoming.
Services and programs will shift a bit to make better use of the space. Another change will be increasing the connections with the community.
In the new year, Gateway, which already works with the Kwantlen Polytechnic University horticulture program, welcomes A Rocha Canada, a Christian environmental group. Gateway, KPU and A Rocha will work together on rooftop gardens.
Meanwhile, Gateway is hoping the spirit of competition will get some sports organizations helping out with the annual Christmas kettles. They’re issuing a challenge to sports groups, as well as service clubs, social groups, church groups and anyone who can spare a few hours to help.
Anyone who can help is asked to call Bianca at 604-514-7375 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.