Burnaby churches help those in need in many ways

Re: Could churches help fight homelessness? (NewsLeader, April 25)

Burnaby City Coun. Paul McDonell commented that “churches should be giving something back to the community” since they get “huge tax breaks.” Homelessness is a big issue and needs to be addressed, but it should be noted that many churches do give back to the community and help the poor in many other ways.

Take, for example, Nelson Avenue Community Church, a small church with an average attendance of 150 people—and this includes children and seniors on fixed income. Our church has given a huge amount back to our community, and I expect there are many other churches doing the same in Burnaby.

We do all our work in the name of Jesus, who teaches us to love others. Each year, our church gives tens of thousands of dollars to support the work of caring for others. This includes Union Gospel Mission, A Rocha, Bethesda Christian Association (which provides care for people with disabilities), Christian Blind Mission, House of the Good Shepherd (which provides prison counseling and rehabilitation for people in the Lower Mainland), refugee programs, financial aid when disaster strikes across the world, and many other worthwhile causes.

A daycare, which is run from the church, provides care for 65 children in the Metrotown area and has been doing so for over 25 years. We have a program which welcomes seniors, many of whom are lonely, for weekly meetings. Over the years we have provided ESL classes, proceeded by a nutritious dinner which was available by donation and supplemented financially by our church.

Many of our members volunteer at the Orphan Aid Thrift Store which supports orphans in Zambia, and we support it financially to pay the rent and utilities.

We have financed and built over a dozen houses in Tijuana, with the youth of our church raising funds throughout the year to finance these projects.

Our church provides love and care for those who enter our doors.

Meals are provided to new mothers, to those who are recovering from illnesses, to those who have lost a loved one. Those who attend our church are encouraged, loved, and prayed for.

We would welcome Coun. McDonell to our church on any Sunday at 10:30 a.m., so he can experience for himself what our church is like, and see how we give back to the community.

Joanne Schaap


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