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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Over the last few years, over 300 hectares have been treated at the city’s southern boundary for wildfire risk reduction. Photo courtesy BC Government.
Wildfire mitigation projects reducing risk around city boundaries

Over the last few years, there has been over 300 hectares of… Continue reading

Pictured is the new gallery space at 1401 5th Street North in Cranbrook. Artists from across the Kootenays are invited to take part in our upcoming exhibit, ‘Kootenay’s Best’.
Cranbrook Arts announces premiere exhibit at 1401 Art Space

Cranbrook Arts is inviting artists from across the Kootenays to submit a proposal for their upcoming exhibit, ‘Kootenay’s Best’

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison. File photo
COMMON’S CORNER: Challenging the government on vaccine availability and more

The first of a quarterly column from Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison

Pictured above: Jason Hawke, Jen Ross and Brenna Baker.
Not Alone campaign gets fundraising boost from Pink Shirt Day

A fundraising campaign for a walk-in health and wellness centre for youth… Continue reading

Sparwood mayor David Wilks was in attendance at the street party to discuss potential changes to Centennial Square.
Wilks: RDEK funds for Angel Flight a ‘no-brainer’

Wilks said he would be supporting the request for funds at Friday’s RDEK meeting

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith stands in front of his Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster float. Photo: Submitted
Grand Forks’ Flying Spaghetti Monster leader still boiling over driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith, head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., said he has since spoken to lawyers

A Cowichan Valley mom is wondering why masks haven’t been mandated for elementary schools. (Metro Creative photo)
B.C. mom frustrated by lack of mask mandate for elementary students

“Do we want to wait until we end up like Fraser Health?”

B.C. research reveals how pandemic has changed attitudes towards sex, health services

CDC survey shows that 35 per cent of people were worried about being judged

Some Canadians are finding butter harder than usual, resulting in an avalanche of social media controversy around #buttergate. (Brett Williams/The Observer)
#Buttergate: Concerns around hard butter hit small B.C. towns and beyond

Canadians find their butter was getting harder, blame palm oil in part one of this series

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon speaks in the B.C. legislature, describing work underway to make a small business and tourism aid package less restrictive, Dec. 10, 2020. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends deadline for tourism, small business COVID-19 grants

Business owners expect months more of lost revenues

The Black Diamond / PIEPS Avalanche transceivers being recalled. (Image courtesy of PIEPS)
Black Diamond, PIEPS issue recall for avalanche transceivers

PIEPS said that avalanche incidents in 2017 and 2020 had prompted the recall, but defended the product

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read