Vernon’s Upper Room Mission is struggling to meet growing demand.
During the first quarter of 2016, the non-profit experienced an increase of 31.4 per cent in the number of meals being served.
“We are averaging 350 to 375 meals per day,” said Lisa Anderson, director of resource development.
“More people are accessing the mission than ever before, and those numbers are projected to continue to rise. We are seeing a dramatic increase in the number of families, children, and seniors using our services.”
To try and maintain services, the mission is turning to the community for support.
“Monetary donations are always greatly appreciated, and every little bit helps,” said Anderson.
After the loss of a provincial grant forced the doors closed in between meals, the drop-in service has returned for the summer.
“Two summer students have been hired to work alongside the outreach department, creating more floor supervision,” said Lisa Anderson, director of resource development.
The mission will now be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday. Breakfast and lunch will still be at the regular times, 9 a.m. and noon.
“The supper service will now be served at 5 p.m. in the hope that the new time will allow more of the working poor to access the meal service,” said Anderson.
In between meals, URM will again offer a day shelter for people to meet with outreach staff, socialize or simply have some down time.
The women’s drop-in centre, Charlotte’s Place, will also be in full swing this summer, with programs running Wednesday and Friday.
“We recognized the impact that our not being open has had on our clients, the community, and our partners, and are very happy that we are able to re-open,” said Anderson.
“We plan to take the next 10 weeks to restructure our services and source alternative funding.”
The summer students were hired through a federal grant.
For more information or to donate, go to www.upperroommission.ca