It seems fitting that we say goodbye to our guests from Out of the Cold as we draw near to completing our Lenten journey. We have been hosting the York Region Out of the Cold program since November 19th , welcoming 20 to 25 guests on Saturday evenings for dinner, overnight accommodation and breakfast in the morning. Dinner was provided by the OOTC staff and we provided breakfast.
Many thanks to all the volunteers who helped serve dinners, made sure guests were supplied with toiletries, socks, underwear, track pants, warm fleeces, all contributions from our congregation and some other community members. The homemade muffins and cookies were the backbone of dessert on Saturday night and the hot breakfasts were a wonderful way of getting to know each other.
As well as thanking the volunteers and bakers we are so grateful to Dan Plourde, our custodian. Cleaning up after the overnight stay was a bit spotty so Dan had extra work on Monday mornings. Thanks to Joanne Fotheringham who came in every Monday and cleaned up all the dishes from the Sunday morning breakfast. It would take too long to thank each volunteer individually but a shout out to Lindsay Thompson who manned the intake desk every Saturday from 4 - 8 pm from November through March.
There were many bright spots in this bleak situation - especially the grace and resilience of our guests - but we were all left with the feeling that no matter how smoothly it went, there is so much more to do. Our last evening is Saturday March 25th. We are hosting a roast chicken dinner as our way of saying goodbye .
The program then moves to Ebenezer United Church on Saturdays. Kudos to all the churches who take on hosting. Here's hoping we can find a better solution than shelters and foodbanks by marshalling all the good will and resourcefulness we see around us in York Region.