With Gods lead and many hands to help the mission store was born. With enough money from our account to secure 4 months of rent thanks to very supportive group of people, and willing husband who stepped out in faith, we opened our doors. With no volunteers at first and a naïve spirit I waited with bags of clothes for a chance to share Gods love with the neighbourhood.
After a few confused faces they came, I gave them my “Jesus is free and so are the clothes” talk and it didn’t take long for the word to get out that the stupid Jesus lady down the street who lets you take whatever you want. As I struggled through that first day a great relief to me was to see the people whom we had connected with over the previous year on the streets start to come in. I quickly got tips on how things worked in the neighbourhood and felt a little more secure when a man named George sat in the corner and assured me that he would protect me.
That was over 7 years ago and Gods vision continues to be seen here. Over the years many volunteers came to add the necessary tools needed that I was definitely lacking and helped bring Gods plans forward. We have gone from the crazy Jesus lady with lots of clothes but no clue to Helping Hands Street Mission outreach, store and program center that now provides social support, and connections to needed community services even a free Hair salon!
Seeing that the need for relationships outweighed any free stuff we could give we have made this our first priority in listening to the needs of the Barton st community (and beyond) trying to provide as best we can a space for this relationship building to thrive. A lot has changed but a lot has stayed the same. Our commitment to the message in Gods word is still strong but with a lot more “showing” than “telling” and the familiar face we see everyday protecting us from the chair in the corner of the room.
God has been forever faithful to His Word and Vision and Truth and continues to sustain us in this wonderful community.