For the third year running, students at Redeemer Christian High School in Ottawa have partnered with Ottawa Innercity Ministries (OIM) to create Winter Survival Kits which will be given to individuals living on the streets.
Recently at a school chapel, Pastor Andrew Balfour of OIM captivated Redeemer students with his stories of adults and youth who live on the streets of Ottawa. Balfour explained that for some youth, living on the streets is less stressful than dealing with dysfunction, abuse or chaos at home.
Redeemer’s Student Council challenged each home room class to collect a sweatshirt, hat, mitts and scarf, wool socks, toiletries (such as a toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant), juice boxes and granola bars, a gift card for Tim Hortons or fast food, a winter weight sleeping bag and a backpack to put all these items in. OIM volunteers will then hand these Winter Survival Kits out to homeless people who need them. Pastor Balfour let our students know there are over 7,000 homeless individuals in Ottawa at the moment, and an increasing number (almost 2,000) are teens or young adults.
OIM’s Street Outreach Program sends teams of adults out six evenings a week to walk alongside the poor and homeless in downtown Ottawa providing snacks, socks and toiletries, but also providing pastoral care, crisis intervention and referrals to other OIM programs, like their Drop-In Centre, Workskills Program, and Fine Arts Program for Youth. OIM’s goal is to build a just society where people are valued, shown dignity and respect and are given an opportunity to attain a better life.
We are so glad Redeemer High students want to demonstrate the message of Christ – in fact, to be the hands and feet of Christ - by creating Winter Survival Kits for the homeless. If you would like to know more about OIM, go to OttawaInnercityMinistries.ca
Reprinted with permission from Marie Cooper Admissions & Promotion Coordinator at Redeemer Christian High School