They’ve gone way beyond the call of duty in helping the homeless in Surrey.
And on Thursday night, a few people and organizations were named as recipients of the second-annual Heroes of the Homeless Awards.
The Heroes of the Homeless Awards are given to people and organizations in Surrey that exceed expectations in service to the homeless and to those at risk of homelessness.
These are people who do not have a primary mandate or job to serve these populations – they do so simply out of the goodness of their hearts. This year’s heroes are:
• Dick Avison
Dick Avison has been an advocate for the homeless in South Surrey. More than five years ago, Avison began volunteering to host the extreme weather shelter at the United Church, where there are 10 beds for homeless people who have nowhere else to go during the winter when it’s cold or wet. Avison has demonstrated compassion for those who are less-fortunate.
• Dr. Ken Stones
Dr. Ken Stones was instrumental in organizing the Peace Arch Free Dental Clinic, which opened in October 2009 to treat people in the South Surrey area who may be homeless and can’t afford to see a dentist.
Clients have been appreciative, often expressing heartfelt thanks with tears and hugs. The patients’ gratitude and improved self-esteem keep the volunteer dentists and staff coming back.
• City Centre Library
The library has specifically designed programs and services to assist the homeless and poverty-stricken, such as 90-day library cards for individuals who don’t have any identification; brochures to help individuals find resources, support services and employment; literacy programs; and promotion of a mobile library. In addition, the City Centre Library has been a partner for the Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society, providing the venue for meetings and programs, including the Youth Film Competition and youth-at-risk workshops.
Coun. Judy Villeneuve, chair of the Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society, and Vera LeFranc, manager of community projects with the Vancity Community Foundation, draped superhero capes on the recipients during the awards event, held at the Newton Cultural Centre on Oct. 10.
For information on how you can help the homeless, or to nominate someone for next year’s Heroes of the Homeless Awards, visit www.surreyhomeless.ca