Most of us can count on staying warm and cozy when the temperatures drop. We turn up the thermostat, put on warmer clothes from our closet and turn on the kettle to make a hot cup of tea. What about those who cannot access housing or find shelter for the night? This winter has been extremely difficult for the homeless. Access to shelter and housing is minimal, leaving 30-40 people out on the streets at night without a warm place to sleep during the freezing weather we have been experiencing.
According to Environment Canada, over 80 people die from cold exposure every year in Canada. A housing crisis coupled with an opioid crisis and the cold Canadian winters (even in the Okanagan) has created a big problem. People are dying; young people are dying and losing their limbs due to frostbite. How crazy is this? At The Mission, we have multiple guests who have been affected by extreme cold weather. We have guests who have been impacted by frostbite that now affects their day to day life in big ways. We have had people in our community pass away because of cold exposure. How is this okay?
So we say no more. No one should die or lose limbs in our community due to extreme cold because there was no room for them. We want to see change, and we want you to join us!
We have been around for 42 years. Sheriff Ron Morgan started the Upper Room Mission in 1980 by renting a room above the Simpson Sears building in Vernon, providing porridge and soup to those in need.
Today, we are a day shelter. We are open seven days a week. We provide two meals per day, access to washrooms, a shower, free laundry, and clean clothes, and we take care of the little things, like a toothbrush and toothpaste, soap, a shaver, female products, etc. Our team has a guest care aid that helps with hygiene and wound care where needed. And our place is safe, away from the stresses of living on the streets, in your car or alone. We are a community.
We do this work because we care for and want to improve the lives of the poor, marginalized and unsheltered in our community to give them a space of belonging and hope for tomorrow through sharing the love of Jesus Christ.
We do not receive government funding but rely on our community’s generosity and the various grants we gain access to continue doing our work. We also have two social enterprises that help the Mission accomplish its goals. We have a bottle depot and probably the best thrift store in town, the Upper Room Mission Boutique.
Our goal for next winter is to offer a mat program at the Upper Room Mission, from December 2023 to February 2024, for those who cannot find a warm place to sleep at night. Our goal is to accommodate 20 mats. We still need to figure out many things, from purchasing the mats, finding the right staff and defining how to operate with people sleeping inside, but we believe every person deserves to have a warm and safe place to sleep in from the cold. Let’s serve our community better! Let’s get people in from the cold next winter. As a community, we can save lives and limbs when we accomplish this next December.
Click the button below and donate to help bring the most vulnerable in from the cold together.