Our vision is to continue the mission of Christ and the work of the Church under the mandate of Catholic Charities. Our mission will be to lessen the social alienation of the poor, the homeless, and the single room tenants of Vancouver by funneling the community resources available to us. We will do this through the following projects: We will provide our patrons with shelter during the day by running a drop-in center where they can relax and socialize or have a light meal. We will provide our patrons with safe respite during the day from the dangers of the street. We will run for our patrons a recreation program of video entertainment, computer access and free general interest books and magazines. We will run a community service hours project as an outlet for the Elizabeth Fry Society program of the B.C. Justice Department to compensate the community for its victimization We will provide a space for religious and secular groups who offer social service programs for the community and require a physical location to run these programs. Under the inspiration of Jesus Christ we recognize the inherent value of our patrons and will exemplify the beatitudes through our relationship with patrons by emphasizing the following values: We have a patron-driven attitude. We…
Meet Our Guests
Meet Our Volunteers
Meet Our Donors
Free Lunch Program
The quality of the lunch we offer daily to our guests continues to improve considerably. This is a result of our contacts with several Catholic Parishes, youth groups and Catholic elementary and high schools who volunteer as well as provide good quality food for our soup and sandwich free lunch. This is in addition to donations from the food bank and other food donors. Our daily capacity to feed the hungry is about 400 people.
Seniors Wellness Group
The Seniors Wellness Group has been meeting once a week from 1997 to present. This group is now well established with over thirty seniors attending regularly. The delight on the faces of these seniors is evident in the many smiles we receive. The seniors have learned that the Door Is open is a place they can rely on to discuss their situation in a non-judgmental, supportive environment. There is much to be said about seniors having a place to openly express their needs and concerns. A nutritious, well-balanced meal is served with the help of our volunteers and donors.
The women’s group reach between twenty-five and fifty women using this program on a regular basis. Women meet every Wednesday over a well-balanced meal to discuss such issues close to them as housing, clothing, nutrition and other topics of interest and concern. Housing being the most crucial issue is discussed at length in a group setting and in a one-on-one environment. Most of the women live in small hotel rooms with no access to kitchens. Some are even forced to live on the street with no shelter or food. These women depend on The Door Is Open to meet with others in the same situation, to share a meal and their experiences with new friends, and also engage in some arts and crafts.
This program started in 1997 and has continued ever since. The group meets once a week under the care and supervision of Alcoholics Anonymous experts. Alcohol is the leading cause of addiction in the Lower East Side. It is practically impossible for a person to function normally if one is under the influence of alcohol all of the time. Helping to beat addiction is a worthy cause that can help lead the way to a fuller and more complete life.
Evening Video Program
The video program is widely used by many of the visitors at The Door Is Open. Guests can enjoy current entertainment that is not regularly available to them. This gives them an opportunity to enjoy some much-needed rest and relaxation from the rigors of living on the street and all that comes with such a lifestyle. Many guests are served dinner next door by the Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement, and stay right until closing time when they must return to the street.
Information, Support and Awareness
Here the clients come to us needing solution-oriented suggestions on how they can help themselves to live a more fulfilling and rewarding life. Our daily work promotes a sense of dignity and self respect among those that need it most, the less fortunate. Most of our guests lack the resources and means to make a better life for themselves. With education, guidance and strong support anything is possible. This program has been a great success as witnessed by the change of their attitude and behavior.
Youth Groups and Students
We have had the delight of introducing some youth groups to the ministry. As we have become more known in the community, we have had an increase participation of students and youth groups who want to share their energy and talents to make the community a better and safer place. This has been a rewarding experience for all involved. Each year there are over seven hundred shoeboxes filled with gifts for the homeless made by students from different schools. This program provides the homeless with the knowledge that people care about them and it provides young people with a valuable experience in charity which may encourage them to do more in the future.
As we give clothing all year round, we are always in need of donations. It is especially needed during the cold winter months when many of our visitors have little in the way of appropriate clothing to get them through this time of year. We supply clothing for men, women, and children. We also supply sleeping bags and blankets to make the nights a little less difficult.
The staff of the Greater Vancouver Food Bank helps to make it possible for us to feed the many that arrive on our doorstep everyday. On the first three Thursdays and Fridays of every month the food bank brings to The Door Is Open approximately seven hundred bags of food for our clients. The bags of food are given freely at the front door between the hours of eight-thirty a.m. and ten-thirty a.m. We are especially thankful for the continuous support from the Food Bank.
Elizabeth Fry Society
The Elizabeth Fry Society continues to send community volunteers to assist us with various projects and programs. Applying the unique talents and labor that each volunteer brings allows us to complete some tasks that would otherwise be impossible. We are very pleased with the strong relationship with the Elizabeth Fry Society.
We are very fortunate to be able to offer a wide variety of gifts and services to our clientele. None of this would be possible without the help of our many volunteers. Our volunteers are from all walks of life with no boundaries between race, age, gender, or social economic status. These volunteers work tirelessly to accomplish the tasks at hand. Volunteers are the very essence of our existence and set a great example for others to follow. Helping others is at the heart of what we do. You are needed here.
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