The Ark Aid Street Mission, Inc.
696 Dundas Street, E., London, Ontario N5W2Z4 Office 519-667-0322 Fax: 519-438-9565 E-mail: email@example.com Web: www.arkaidmission.com
Christ m a s ’09 Ne w s l e t t e r More than a meal A young man comes in at supper time, asking to speak with a pastor. The pastor of the church providing the serving team that evening happens(!) to be here and counsels a broken heart. During afternoon coffee and snack time, Ark staff encourage and pray with a friend who is trying to do right but is surrounded by those doing wrong. “This experience allowed me to open my eyes a bit more and feel like I made a contribution to the community.” – An evening volunteer who served meals for the first time. The Ark has so many facets of ministry. Of course it serves the folks who come in for a meal and other services we offer. But it also provides a wonderful place for hundreds of people each month to release their God-given gifts to serve others. It is amazing to witness the compassion and desire so many people have to find practical ways to make a difference in someone’s life. This is a place of daily miracles – when the person or the thing we need comes through the door at just the right time. Introducing … I have had the privilege of serving in a variety of capacities in the past 30 years. After pastoring in southern Ontario for a eleven years, my family and I moved to Nairobi, Kenya in 1991 where we provided leadership at a Bible College. We moved to London in 2003 to work with a friend’s ministry of humanitarian aid to the former Soviet Union. Along the way I did radio ministry for more than a decade and wrote a couple of devotional books. My wife, Gloria, who has her own business entertaining in retirement homes and nursery schools and I have 3 terrific children, two out on their own and our baby finishing Grade 12. Late in the summer, through circumstances that seemed to be God’s leading, I was asked to consider coming to serve at the Ark. Working cross-culturally, leading diverse groups of people and putting my hand to so many different tasks is proving to be just the right training. I have found a wonderful team of committed, loving staff and volunteers. We are working at getting new programmes going to complement the main ministry of providing a daily meal. We are building relationships with the Ark’s present friends and supporters and reaching out to make new relationships. Of course, we are working to get to know the people who come through our doors and to learn how we can better serve them. Mark your calendar We are pleased to announce a benefit concert featuring The Chapelaires, Laurie Marks Vincent and Gloria Whitelaw on January 22, 2010, 7:30 P.M. at Royal View Church, 218 Clarke Rd. We deeply appreciate these artists donating their time and talent. We are also planning some other special features. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door. You can order your tickets by calling the office. Brings lots of friends to introduce them to the Ark! dignity
A Day at the Ark Many people, even those who volunteer, do not know all that goes on during a typical day. So, here it is: 7:30 am Volunteer and/or staff go to UWO food outlets and several Starbucks for bread, sweets, coffee, etc. 8:00 am Staff and volunteer/coop student/community service placement begin cleaning the Ark 9:00 am Ark office opens 10:00 am Volunteers arrive to sort the bread and sweets for the day 12:00 pm Donations of food and clothing dropped off throughout the day 1:00 pm Staff and volunteer devotions 1:30 pm Volunteers open the Ark for 2 hours to serve coffee, tea and distribute snacks 1:30 pm The Ark’s cook begins preparing the evening meal 5:00 pm Ark office closes 5:15 pm Food is transferred to steam tables and serving area 6:00 pm Volunteer team arrives to prepare to serve supper 6:45 pm Doors open for supper 6:55 pm Devotional message and prayer 7:00 pm Supper is served 7:45 pm Last call for supper; games and other activities begin 8:30 pm Dishes washed, tables wiped, chairs stacked. 9:00 pm Doors locked, lights off. It is a full day, and we are adding new programmes during the afternoon and evening. Of course, all of these activities are meant to allow us to build relationships with people and to try to help them towards a better future with God. Praise & Thanks We are so grateful for: all the volunteers (about 250/month) who serve the nightly meals; for those who sort sweets and those who serve them each weekday afternoon; for those who drive the van to pick up food; for all the food donations from churches and individuals; for UWO food outlets and Starbucks regular donations; for those who donate clothes and those who help in the PICKINS store; for those who donate financially and for those who pray. The need You will not be surprised when you hear the news that London’s unemployment and welfare rates are sky high, that the pressure on people on the margins of society is increasing. The economy has affected not only individuals and families but many organizations, as well. One friend told me that he had resisted coming for a meal for months after losing his job, but eventually need overcame his pride. We are blessed with many volunteers. We also receive an amazing amount of food donations. However, funds to heat the building, turn on the lights, run the van to pick up donated food and to pay the modest salaries of the few staff are very low. It would be a shame to have freezers full of food and no means to cook and serve it! It is simply amazing what those who have gone before have accomplished. Those who love the Ark have done so much over the years to keep it going. It needs that same loving support now. Please consider what you can do at this Christmas season. It will mean so much to so many. But most of all, it will be the kind of gift that God himself gave – his best to those who didn’t know him but needed him. May you have a blessed Christmas season. Doug Whitelaw Acting Executive Director P.S. You can donate online at CanadaHelps.org. Join the 'Ark Aid Street Mission' Facebook group. dignity
The Christmas edition of the Ark Aid Mission newsletter, featuring 'A day at the Ark,' introducing the Acting Executive Director and announc...