By Dwayne Weidendorf
It seems like yesterday when Langley Times reporter Monique Tamminga wrote a series of stories about an implausible vision coming from Gary Johnson, for a Langley homeless shelter.
In actuality, it was seven years ago and on Dec. 2, the Gateway of Hope celebrated its fifth anniversary. All our local dignitaries showed up to celebrate this amazing feat including MLAs Rich Coleman, Peter Fassbender and Mary Polak, Langley Township Mayor Jack Froese, Langley City Mayor Ted Schaffer and City Councillor Gayle Martin, who spends tireless hours volunteering at the shelter.
Many other instrumental contributors shared in the celebration. including the top brass from the Salvation Army, Rotarians, members of the Lions clubs, volunteers, staff, and corporate Langley.
What seemed to be an impossible feat seven years ago came to fruition because the entire community shared the vision for this facility. Everyone joined forces to raise the resources necessary to build this one-of-a-kind establishment.
In 2013, there were an incredible 76,000 meals served to the homeless and hungry. The emergency shelter assisted over 700 men and women with a warm bed, hot meals and treatment.
The transitional housing program saw 203 participants, where men and women participate in a professional plan to establish a plan to transition back into the community.
Most impressive was the 15,000 tireless hours of volunteer work that was contributed by over 150 dedicated volunteers. The Gateway of Hope transforms peoples’ lives and clearly makes a difference in supporting the needy in our community.
I have had the honour of serving on the community council at the Gateway of Hope for the past seven years and I see firsthand the extraordinary work the staff and volunteers do to support the needy. Everyone has a story to tell and I have seen men and women who have had addictions come into this facility and miraculously transform themselves as productive working citizens in our community.
I have talked to the homeless who went through financial hardships and just needed that extra support to get their life back on track. Many people wrongly mistake homeless people as criminals, but the reality is the majority are just normal people who have fallen on hard times and need that hand up that the Gateway of Hope provides.
Over 40 per cent of the operating budget at the Gateway of Hope is dependent on the direct financial support from our community through donations, the Aldergrove thrift store and the famous Christmas Kettle program. Yes, folks it’s that time of year where you see those wonderful red kettles and the Gateway of Hope is in dire need of your volunteer support today.
So let’s get off the couch and spend a couple of hours changing and transforming lives in our community by volunteering. Please call 604-514-7375 to support this important tradition, or email email@example.com.
I promise that this experience will be extraordinary.
Happy anniversary to the Gateway of Hope, and thanks to the entire community for making a difference in the lives of so many people.