A group helping the homeless and needy in Whalley for the past decade will soon homeless itself.
The Surrey Urban Mission Society (SUMS) has to be out of its church at 13388 104 Ave. by Jan. 25.
After that, services to the community stop, including an extreme weather shelter, which will close during one of the year’s coldest months.
When SUMS executive director Joquil Hallgate talks about her society, she speaks of family.
SUMS, named the Surrey Board of Trade’s top not-for-profit this month, not only offers food and shelter, but all things that will make people feel better about themselves and their community.
Just the same kind of thing someone would offer a family member that was in need, she says.
“It’s about the quality of life,” Hallgate says. “If people come in and they’re totally isolated, we can help them build a community of people around them that become their network and their friends and their family.”
Some people, newly separated from their spouse, come in for that companionship more than from a need for food.
She shutters at the notion the community will lose that wrap-around service.
As recently as September, the city had a plan to temporarily house SUMS at a nearby property.
However, that plan failed, leaving the mission in the same place it was before, but with a tighter deadline.
Coun. Barinder Rasode said she still wants the city to help find an answer for SUMS, but one isn’t immediately apparent.
Meanwhile, Hallgate is holding on to what she knows best – Faith.
“I’m part of the church community,” Hallgate says. “Faith is foremost. It might not happen in my time, but I have to have faith.”
Hallgate’s daughter has started a petition, asking the church for more time before it evicts SUMS.
The petition can be found at http://chn.ge/TOPsg9
Much more than a meal:
• Weekly women’s group
• Weekly youth group
• Drug addiction counselling and support
• Help for single women and single men
• Housing assistance
• Medical care – working with the local hospitals to get aid to those in need
• A Christmas dinner for the entire city of Surrey that serves 1,500 meals every Christmas Day
• Recovery and Rehab assistance
• Instrumental in organizing the BC Homeless Count 2 years ago
• Organize “Connect Day” every year in which every group in Surrey agencies can offer their services in one central location. People receive not only help and assistance but free haircuts, dental care, medical care as well as other treats they would not normally be able to access or afford.
• Invitation to the riders of “Bike and Ride” to come and spend their last night on the road with them at the end of every summer.
• Several American universities, church and school groups have traveled far and wide to come and visit the Mission and be a part of the community.
• Several Canadian groups have also joined the Mission for week long stays of Service
• Hosts the Extreme Wet Weather Zero Barrier Shelter Every Winter from Nov-March
~From petition website