Have you ever wanted to learn how you can get more involved in your city’s outreach, mission, and community programs and organizations, but not sure where to start? Faithworks organized a local Service and Learning Together (SALT) trip to downtown Hamilton in October 2015. The goal of this trip is to learn about some of the many Christian organizations that work in the city and how we can help serve the community with and through them.
On Thursday, October 29, a group of eight gathered at Streetlight Ministries. Rev. Aasman taught us about the history of Streetlight ministries and about the work that is done there. Rev. Aasman also took us on a guided tour of the Beasley neighborhood, the local Hamilton area which Streetlight impacts.
On Friday, October 30, our group has a guided tour of Mission Services and learned about the work done by this organisation for the people of Hamilton. Mission Services provides support for women, men and children, assistance with addiction recovery and a food bank.
We walked to Helping Hands Street Mission, where they operate a clothing mission and offers a variety of drop in style programs throughout the week for those living in the Barton Street community, ministering to those on the street and in the sex trade. We were able to help by organizing clothes and other items that would eventually be brought into the store and were able to talk with some of the people using the mission.
We then took a tour of Living Rock, a youth ministry that encourages and equips youth aged 13-25 who are in danger of falling through the cracks. Assisting young people who may be challenged by mental illness, addictions, poverty or other factors by providing mentoring, prenatal and parenting support, nutritious meals and crisis support.
On Saturday, October 31, we were able to visit City Kidz, a children and youth ministry with Saturday kids’ program and Wednesday night youth leadership program and weekly home visits reaching about 1000 kids in Hamilton every week. “Existing to increase resiliency and inspire BIG dreams for Canadian children living in low income communities by providing inspirational experiences and nurturing personal relationships, one child at a time.”
We then were visited The Olive Branch, where we were able to lead devotions, serve lunch and talk with the local people of Hamilton. The Olive Branch is an outreach ministry for the homeless and poor in downtown Hamilton. They provide a nourishing meal, snacks, coffee, and an encouraging word from Scripture, all in a friendly, caring, environment.
We then went to 541 Eatery & Exchange, where fresh, home cooked meals and baked goods are made Monday to Saturday and a place of exchange where ideas are shared and people can engage with one another. They have a system in place where buttons are a type of currency. Each is worth $1 and can be purchased by customers from the cashier. The buttons go into the jar and are used by others who can’t afford a nutritious meal or coffee that day. Or group helped by washing dishes, preparing food, and organizing the storage room.
We finished the SALT Trip on Sunday, November 1. We gathered for the morning church service at Streetlight. It was a beautiful way to end the trip worshipping God in the city we had learned about that weekend.