Westward Independent

Christmas Miracles or Regular Citizens

by Westward Independent
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North Cowichan, Duncan, and the CVRD is full of caring citizens, who have decided to take care of many of the local community needs, while we ask where the other high paid NGOs and Local Governments seem to struggle being able to figure out how to implement boots on the ground initiatives.


On Sunday December 3rd a new group called Clean Up V9L (can be found on Facebook) hosted a gathering at The Curling Club. The room was overfilled with attendees that stretched all the way down the stairs, showing that the community is extremely concerned about the street crime, those in need of shelter, the greater mental health issues, the suffering of businesses, and the safety of their children.


The meeting’s host delivered an impactful speech, highlighting his concerns as a business owner and the challenges his business faces. He emphasized feeling unsafe and urged local governments to recognize that the climate narrative and priorities they advocate for may not align with the majority of North Cowichan residents. Following the host, a mother shared distressing experiences her 15-year-old child witnessed, ranging from drug overdoses to public defecation. She expressed concern about children being confined to campus for safety. Subsequently, a recovered addict who operates The Last Door Recovery Centre on the mainland spoke about their holistic approach to long-term recovery, ensuring housing for individuals upon leaving the center. Serena “Feedombear” addressed the immediate need to support those on the streets due to the lack of warming centers. Cheryl from Life On Wheels, operating without provincial funding, discussed her efforts in detoxing locals and facilitating recovery on the mainland. Cheryl secured a house for detox initiatives and acquired a Winnebago for mobile support, seeking additional volunteers. Night Owls, represented by a couple of women, were acknowledged for their efforts in keeping people on the streets warm through donations of propane heaters and blankets, noting the absence of a current warming center.


The Cowichan Valley is filled with so many kind and caring souls. If you would like to help, donate, or connect with any of these amazing people this season and beyond here are some ways to reach out:


Life On Wheels (Detox, on the street, recovery) -Needed: Monetary Donations, and on the ground help
250-706-2428.


Night Owl (on the street activism to connect with people and keep people from freezing on the streets) Needed: Monetary donations, blankets, gloves, toques, propane heaters, on the street help) Message Sandyy King on FB, or Sara (www.facebook.com/sarah.mckenna.1293) on FB or email mckenna.sarahcoleen@gmail.com.


Meals On The Ground (feed those in need. Mon-Wed and Fri. 5-6 Duncan United) Needed- Volunteers, Cleaners, Servers. claudia1949roland@gmail.com.


Sunday Sandwiches provides sandwich lunches to those who need a meal each Sunday (and stats.) behind the Cowichan Valley Basket Society building (5810 Garden St. Duncan) from 12pm – 1pm in support of the Cowichan Valley Basket Society. Sunday is the one day of the week where there is no access to food for our homeless and those living in poverty. Sunday Sandwiches on FaceBook.


Last Door Recovery Centre in New Westminster Needed: Monetary help. Contact via FB www.facebook.com/LastDoor/

 

* The CVRD announced the Heritage Hall will open for warming on Dec 11th, this leaves questions regarding available on-site staff. Additionally, there will be no storage for belongings. Those who work with people on the streets have said that these folks will not leave their belongings on the street to go into a shelter as they know they will be stolen and it is often all they have.
By Staff



Recently, Life on Wheels, a grassroots, God breathed ministry, has moved ahead at full capacity and has taken another road less traveled; not having government support, but forging ahead regardless. A growing number of volunteers are taking positive action in our Community to create a better life for all. Through meeting many caring and very generous community-minded people we have been given the opportunity to rent a six-bedroom home to offer women who are in addiction, homeless and in transition, to get supportive housing to do a natural detox. They will also receive treatment for trauma, much love and compassion, and many other healing modalities, all sponsored by volunteers who care about helping these women to get clean and off the streets.


We start building relationships with these women when meeting them at Life on Wheels at our sea can and pop up tent, on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday from 12-3 on the railroad tracks on Duncan Avenue. Also, we meet our clients through family members, or other support workers who contact us and then do an intake to assess their desire to move forward to get clean and a new life off the streets. We have the capacity for six women at this time in the house along with three house leaders and support volunteers who come daily to run the programs.


In the spring when trailers are in place we may be able to accommodate 3 more. It is our goal to start their journey back to health with them and finish with them after rehabilitation to receive them back into our facility so we become their community of support while they start a better life finding housing, family and possible work or further education.


There is still so much work to be done! We have a further vision to open a faith-based men’s sober house and detox facility all run by volunteers. We spent two years gaining experience detoxing men and some women in our trailer ministry outside of Duncan. Very soon we hope to operate a warming center and temporary shelter out of a 27-foot Winnebago to provide relief during the cold months to rekindle hope, faith and love in their hearts.


We are in a humanitarian crisis and more must be done to respond to the opioid and mental health crisis and homelessness in our own community for the benefit of all. These are desperate times that require desperate measures and much prayer.


In January, we are planning to reach out to families who have loved ones in addiction by offering weekly meetings to support them in healthy ways.


Submitted by Cheryl Howard, Director of Life on Wheels

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