Local society ramping up community outreach programs

Local society ramping up community outreach programs

A local society is stepping up efforts to address homelessness and poverty issues in Cranbrook.

The Ekklesia Millennium Society has spent the last three years developing process and procedure for outreach programs such as providing meals and housing, along with a myriad of other services, for people who need a helping hand.

Now, it is time to raise the organization’s profile, said founder Kelley Poirier.

“The money is what we really need now,” said Poirier.

He said there is a small base of local donor support, but no funding from government sources. Every dollar is diligently tracked and a sophisticated database has been developed to monitor finances, service calls, meals, rides and all facets of the society’s operations.

In addition to finances, the society is looking for support identifying and working out of an industrial kitchen or even a mobile operation, such as a converted food truck.

Vehicles are also a need, as the society has an existing fleet of 13 vehicles but some are well used and have high kilometres.

Operations are currently being run out of a building in the on Industrial Rd. F, but Poirier is on the hunt for something larger to house a growing operation.

The society is currently run by two paid staff and 30 daily volunteers, which grows to an additional 50-100 people in the summer months.

Poirier, whose family has longtime roots in Kimberley, launched the society in 2007 and gained non-profit status two years later.

It’s a cause close to his heart, as he experienced homelessness himself for three years while living in Calgary.

Poirier has established and run clothing and food banks in Alberta in his early 20s, working with local farmers to distribute food all the while holding down a full-time job and going to school.

After founding the Ekklesia Millennium Society 13 years ago in Cranbrook out of a cinder block house that had a wood stove for heating, Poirier began to pull together people and resources necessary to help people in need.

The society grew its capacity enough to take on an office building in 2016, but took three years to develop programming, training and building a reputation within the community.

That effort led to the development of four major programs for the society — One Ladle at a Time, On the Rock Refuge Centre, Shuttle Services and Meals on Heels.

The society prides itself on their meal programs.

One Ladle at a Time serves three hot meals a day, seven days a week, 365 days of the year, according to Poirier. That tallied up to 17,000 meals in 2017, 25,000 in 2018, and he is projecting up to 36,000 in total this year.

Another food program, Meals on Heels, is an outreach program that delivers meals to doorsteps for those who are unable to leave their homes for whatever reason. For a subscription-based service, meals can also be delivered to homes for those who are able to leave their homes but want monthly meal deliveries.

The Meals on Heels program has served 12,000 meals as of this past October.

On the Rock Refuge offers homelessness services through a network of 29 beds throughout the city, however, Poirier is in the process of looking for a larger building to increase service capacity.

The Shuttle Service is also extremely active, growing from 15,000 rides in 2017 to a projected 63,700 rides by the end of this year.

Anyone interested in learning more about the society can contact the society at 1-778-517-5800 or visit the office at 217 Industiral Rd. F.

Just Posted

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

It happened this week in 1914

June 6 -12: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers held at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Thursday, June 10, mentioned Grand Forks among two other COVID “hot spots” in B.C. Photo: Screenshot - YouTube COVID-19 BC Update, June 10, 2021
PHO Henry says West Kootenay city is a COVID ‘hot spot’ in B.C.

There are 11 cases of COVID-19 in the Grand Forks local health area, according the BC CDC

Supporters — and shoppers — lined up waiting at the Cranbrook Health Care Auxiliary Thrift Store on 8th Avenue South, waiting for the doors to open on the store's first day of operations since the pandemic forced its closure. (Photo courtesy Kate Fox)
CHCA Thrift Store re-opens in Cranbrook

After a closure of 15 months, due to the pandemic, the Cranbrook Health Care Auxiliary Thrift Store on 8th Avenue South has once again opened its doors for business.

How to tell if a call from ‘CRA’ is legitimate or a scam

Expert says it’s important to verify you really are dealing with the CRA before you give out any info

British Columbia-Yukon Community News Association’s 2021 Ma Murray Awards were handed out during a virtual ceremony on Friday, June 10. (Screen grab)
Black Press Media winners take gold at B.C. and Yukon journalism awards

Publications received nods in dozens of categories

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets campers while visiting McDougall, Ont. on Thursday, July 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
71% of B.C. men say they’d prefer to go camping with Trudeau: survey

Most British Columbians with plans to go camping outdoors say they’d prefer to go with Trudeau or Shania Twain

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Chilliwack cocaine trafficker Clayton Eheler seen with a tiger somewhere in Asia in 2014. Eheler was sentenced to nine years jail in 2018, but was released on bail in October 2020 pending his appeal of conviction.(Facebook)
Director of civil forfeiture seeks $140,000 from Fraser Valley drug dealer’s father-in-law

Clayton Eheler’s father-in-law Ray Morrissey caught with money in Fort St. John by B.C.’s gang unit

A Comox Valley shellfish operator pleaded guilty and was fined $10,000 in provincial court in Courtenay earlier this year. Record file photo
B.C. clam harvester fined $10,000 for Fisheries Act violations

Charges against three others were stayed in Courtenay Provincial Court

Frank Phillips receives a visit from his wife Rena at Nanaimo Seniors Village on their 61st wedding anniversary, March 31, 2020. Social visits have been allowed since COVID-19 vaccination has been offered in all care homes. (Nanaimo News Bulletin)
B.C. prepares mandatory vaccination for senior care homes

180 more cases of COVID-19 in B.C. Friday, one more death

Lorraine Gibson, 90, received a COVID-19 immunization at the South Surrey Park and Ride vaccination clinic. (File photo: Aaron Hinks)
Surrey has had 25% of B.C.’s total COVID-19 cases

Surrey recorded 4,012 cases in May

The arrest south of Winnipeg occurred before Bernier was to arrive at a protest in the city. (Twitter/Maxime Bernier)
Maxime Bernier arrested following anti-rules rallies in Manitoba: RCMP

He’s been charged with exceeding public gathering limits and violating Manitoba’s requirement to self-isolate

Most Read