East Cordova St. charity expresses its gratitude to those who give their time
By Brent Mattson
The B.C. Catholic
VANCOUVER--During a recent special Mass and luncheon, The Door Is Open opened its doors to its own volunteers, employees, and Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB.
“The Door Is Open (is) a remarkable place of caring where the face of Jesus in the homeless is manifested and respected,” the archbishop said during his homily, as he sang the praises of the Downtown Eastside charity service Dec. 7.
Thanks to the support of its volunteers over the years, the Cordova Street centre has been a safe and friendly place providing good meals and many social services to the homeless in the community.
“By providing a drop-in centre where people can relax and socialize in safety and trust and where they can have access to various services, The Door Is Open provides an invaluable service to the community and is a blessing for the Church,” Archbishop Miller added.
The Mass and lunch was an opportunity to thank the volunteers for their generous gifts and support for the centre throughout the past year, director Maria Julia Ruggier told the room of enthusiastic volunteers. “Your contributions have continually and effectively reached out to serve and help the needy and those who are less fortunate than us.”
Ruggier said some of the volunteers have been around since the program first started 15 years ago. She also thanked the students from St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary, who provided the music during Mass. Their school was also the first to send students to cook weekend meals at The Door Is Open.
“On the weekends we only had coffee and tea, and sometimes some muffins, and (the students) started cooking a meal that cost $600, like we do now every day,” she said. “They are still here too, on the first Sunday of every month.”
The majority of the volunteers at The Door Is Open come from St. Andrew Kim Parish in Surrey. Scott Small, manager of the Catholic Charities Men’s Hostel of the archdiocese, said he hopes to increase the number of volunteers by reaching out to more parishes in the archdiocese.
Ruggier said the efforts of the volunteers over the past year enabled The Door Is Open to reach out to those in need. With their continued help, she hopes the door will always remain open at the centre.
“As we anticipate challenges in the year ahead, we do so with trust in God’s providence for us all,” she said. “We also trust that we can count on your continued good will and involvement in the centre.”