August 23rd, 2016
St. Stephen’s began hosting a monthly Inn for the homeless in June 2003 and ended by hosting the last one in January 2016. The executives of the Calgary Inn from the Cold Program shut down all Inn hosting's at the churches in February 2016 due to the executives’ desire to concentrate on serving homeless families in the Inn facility at 110 - 11 Avenue SE. The churches in the last year were not receiving any children – just adults. Some of these adults had issues involving drugs, mental health, and alcohol. There were a few unpleasant incidents at churches and at the Inn facility intake area. Consequently, the executives concluded that the homeless adults could have their issues better addressed at special facilities available to them, such as at the Calgary Drop-In & Rehab Centre.
The three Inn coordinators at St. Stephen’s - Pam Verdonck, Dennis Yurkiw, and Ambrose Comchi - wish to thank all of the dozens of volunteers who provided the requisite labour each month during the past twelve and 2/3 years at St. Stephen’s Inn. They shared the work that involved setting up sleeping and dining areas, cooking and serving the 7 PM supper and 6 AM breakfast and preparing bag lunches. Volunteers were on duty all night and laundered the guests’ clothing during the night. In the morning they took down equipment, cleaned up the church Inn, and laundering the towels and bedding. Other volunteer duties included helping the guests’ children with school homework and providing any other support that was needed, including driving ill guests to a nearby health clinic. During our time hosting Inn From the Cold, our volunteers served nearly 2900 homeless guests.
We also thank the parishioners who donated clothing, toiletries, and other items to be passed on to the guests. Special thanks are due to St. Stephen’s choir members who made significant donations of backpacks, socks, underwear, hoodies, jogging clothing, and toiletries each December for distribution over the following year. In addition, we offer a big thank you to individual parishioners, the Knights of Columbus, and the UCWLC for sizable monetary donations made to support the program. Finally, thank you to St. Stephen’s Council and clergy for their support and encouragement.
Submitted with deep gratitude,
'Ambrose W. Comchi
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