A hand up, not a handout, is what participants in a new initiative in northeast Edmonton, Alberta, are striving to bring to their community. What began with feeding folks out of the back of a van has now become a special drop-in spot called the Mosaic Centre where folks can get a cup of coffee and so much more.
Megan Schuring, a member of Trinity Christian Reformed Church in Edmonton, is one of the many volunteers and a program manager at the Mosaic Centre.
“We are mostly about creating relationships with people and showing God’s love,” explained Schuring. “So many people have no community around them. They need someone that cares that they got up in the morning or didn’t show up for two days.”
Trinity CRC joined Emmaus Lutheran Church, Steele Heights Baptist church, and E4C (Edmonton City Centre Church Corporation) to form the center, which aims to reduce the effects of poverty and homelessness. The center relies entirely on donations, most of them from local churches, to keep its doors open. The official grand opening was in early September.
One of the unique services the center offers is foot care. “We have a retired nurse that comes in to do foot care. To see the change in attitude, the transformation, in these people when someone washes and cares for their feet is truly amazing,” Shuring said.
Along with foot washing, the center offers meals, haircuts, laundry facilities, bike repair, a community garden, and computer access. Volunteers help with obtaining identification papers, filing income taxes, procuring bus tickets, gaining access to medical and legal advice, and much more.
“It’s been so God-blessed. God has a plan and we keep following the plan,” said Schuring.
Harold Thys, a member of Trinity CRC, also volunteers his time at the center. “We've tried to make Mosaic a place where people feel important and cared about, not just a number or another person in a line for a handout. It is a place where the love of God pours out,” says Thys.