Mustard Seed Update
I was at my desk one sunny morning in late July when I heard the jangling of keys and a vaguely familiar voice through the open window. I peered out and was delighted to see Greg, a friend whom I had met at the Kinsmen Shelter this past spring. Greg had been a previous shelter guest who connected with our employment counselor and is now a part of our Seed Works Chinatown McCauley Clean team!
For over three decades, the 96th Street Mustard Seed church has been a community hub, welcoming thousands of participants for drop-in programs and serving over two million meals. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and our meal service closed, our creativity was tested as we searched for a way to provide meals to our community. We created Dinner2Door, a delivery service where nutritious meals are prepared, packaged, and delivered free of charge to the doorsteps of Edmontonians in need. Without our loyal volunteers, none of this would have been possible. Dinner2Door has been very successful, providing approximately 1000 meals per week to those who may have a roof over their head but have difficulty feeding themselves and their families. To register for Dinner2Door please inquire with Carmen (CarmenThomas@theseed.ca) at the 96th Street church.
Other programs and services continue to operate out of the church, including our expanded Food Bank, which is open every Tuesday and Thursday from 1:00 p.m.-2:30 p.m. Because homelessness exists not only in the inner city, but throughout Edmonton, we are offering meals to go and emergency services at our Community Hubs on the south side (The Neighbour Centre) and the west end (The Christian Care Centre). Our north side hub, The Mosaic Centre, recently relocated and will be reopening this fall. As well, we are currently operating two overnight shelters on the south side.
As we face both the continuing unpredictability of COVID-19 and the perennial predictability of another Edmonton winter, we remain committed to creatively meeting the shifting needs of Edmonton’s most vulnerable. If you see an opportunity to partner with us, we’d love to start with a conversation. As my friend Greg continues to remind me, we have much to learn from each other.
Kirsten Schmaus is a lifelong Edmontonian and a Community Engagement Coordinator with The Mustard Seed.