I know I haven’t written in awhile but I wanted to pen a special note and let you guys all know what I have been up to lately. To the left of this post is a delicious picture of the cookies our youth group children made for the men and women of our Extreme Wet Weather Shelter.
Not only were the cookies phenominal, but after they were baked, decorated and iced within an inch of their lives *and our hearts* the children came upstairs to hand them out and sing a Christmas Carol which was a nice event for the people in the shelter.
To the right is what our chapel, lunch room and general all purpose room looks like when it is filled with mats. Consecutively for the last twenty nights it has been full (30) with thirty men and women who needed a place to stay. Needless to say it really is a wonderful job to have if you can find it, but it has been rather tiring. I have learned in the last couple of days not only who my real -true- friends are, but also that I am a horrible awful person when I do not get any sleep. I have hurt some feelings and damaged some relashionship, including one with my Vampire out of shear exhaustion and frustration at the issue of homelessness. I guess I let my exhaustion hurt some feelings, and I hope that I can make up for that but we’ll see.
In any case, beyond that I really haven’t been doing -too- much other then working sleeping and trying to fit in an NA meeting here and there when I can. It hasn’t been easy, even when you consider the fact that the NA meetings happen in the same room your looking at above, while shelter is downstairs. My main focus is always on the shelter, making sure people have blankets or food – it sounds silly to say but its almost as if everything else leaves my brain and heart when this time of year comes around. My only concern is the people who need me most, which again is another reason I get so awful and testy towards my friends…I really truly should work on that.
One of the great traditions my family participates in this time of year is our Christmas Dinner. I call it “ours” because it is now Fifteen years the three of us have been involved in doing a large community dinner, our tenth or so with Surrey Urban Mission I think? I don’t know the numbers I just know that is has been a lot of years.
I love doing this dinner, and I am going to tell you why;
Fifteen years ago I was new to British Columbia and I did not really understand the meaning of Poverty, even though my family never really had a lot of money, mom had always managed to make Christmas exceptional, which always no matter what included Santa Claus.
Not everyone as I learned however knew or celebrated the Santa part of Christmas. So this year in particular, I had asked a little boy if Santa had come, his mother to my chagrin started to cry. I felt so awful when my mom told me “Not everyone celebrates Christmas, or even celebrates Santa because they cannot afford to” as soon as I heard that, I went into the Church’s back cupboard and found a broken and I do mean broken Batmobile toy and told the little boy that Santa must have left it for him at the Church. He really did not care who had left it for him, all he cared about was that he had a Batman toy. To him that made Christmas perfect.
I do not know what happened to that little boy, I wish I did, what I do know however is that the following year my younger brother cleaned out his closet and brought all of his old toys for the children to play with and take him.
Our third year in the Surrey Fire Department got in on the mix and donated brand new toys, food and clothing for us to give away and this year our fifteenth year as a family celebrating this amazing holiday is going to be even better.
Up until this morning we had no idea where our Church *Surrey Urban Mission* would host our Christmas dinner but now we know we will be at the Surrey Legion, which means we will have even more room to give away even more, and better we’ll have more room for the “legion” of volunteers that are coming, to sit chat and hang out with our family. I as silly as it may sound, really do consider the people who have been coming to this dinner for years, as family. They are apart of my family tradition and I cannot wait. It seriously is the absolute best time of the year and nothing compares to it. So from all of us here at Surrey Urban Mission, my mom Jonquil, my brother Christopher and my extended street family we wish you the very best of holidays and hope that you feel even a fraction of the joy we feel during this amazing time.