Friday, 14 November 2014

Home for the Holidays - Siloam Mission Fundraising Banquet

When we first got the invitation, a line on it that really struck me was, 'Our fingerprints remain on the lives of those we touch.' What a perfect and beautiful quote for people working for and supporting places like Siloam Mission!

Our colony has supported this homeless shelter for many years, but it's only been since last June that I've been involved on a personal level. Candice Cancade came to our colony to share about the work they're doing. That day she also came to our school to do a presentation, where she invited us to come for a tour. We accepted the invitation and went there, on our annual school field trip and Candice herself, and John Jansen gave us a tour. I didn't really know what to expect, but what I saw blew me away. I was probably walking around with my mouth hanging open as my eyes and mind were trying to take it all in: classroom, kitchen, dining hall, fitness room, clinic, sleeping area, stocked storage rooms.... Everything neat and tidy and waiting for the patrons.

Banquet guest gift at each plate
But of all the rooms we saw that day, the art room had me mesmerized the most. There was gorgeous art work on tables, walls, easels, on the floor and standing in the windows - all done by patrons of the mission, people who call this place home. I was touched beyond words that the patrons have this tremendous opportunity of being able to create these pieces and are taking advantage of it. Some even sell their work as picture frames or cards. I walked out of there, knowing I wanted one of these beautiful pictures hanging on my wall. Shortly after, it was arranged and I bought a lovely winter scene.

A few weeks after that tour, when the kitchen at Siloam Mission was being renovated, we prepared and served one of the evening meals. Again, I was impressed how well organized and efficient that kitchen crew was. It was a joy working with them and especially knowing that together we're making a difference in the lives of people in need. I'm looking forward to volunteering there in the future. Thank you, Candice and John for opening that door for us!

This is getting rather lengthy, but I wanted to provide some background information, events that led to us getting two tickets to this Gala evening. What my colony ended up doing was buy a table, so eight more could go. The Convention Centre banquet hall was gorgeous - classy, elegant, sparkly. I couldn't help standing for a few minutes and marveling at this splendour. It was a wonderful way to get into the Christmas spirit! Another nice touch at each place, was the set of cards featuring art work by Siloam Mission patrons!! All of us enjoyed the entire evening, the decor, fabulous food, fundraising auctions, entertainment, part of which was the Silverwinds Colony Choir and mingling with friends and strangers while savoring scrumptious hors d'oeuvres.

It was a four-course meal; the type where you have to figure out which fork to pick up first. No, we don't dine like that every day, for most of us, it was the first time. Some of us were actually able to give pointers on fine dining etiquette... thanks to being enlightened to such grand occasions through books. (: Here's what the menu looked liked:




As splendid as everything was, for me it all came down to the quote I started out this post with, 'Our fingerprints remain on the lives of those we touch.' And that's what this was all about, making a difference in the lives of people who are in need; giving them hope, a new purpose in life. It was heartwarming to listen to people who have been touched by Siloam Mission and who now serve there. Also to get a sense of the history of the place, the dreams that have been realized along the way and the grand dreams that the people running the place still have. Dreams that all of us can help make a reality.

Every year thousands of men, women, and their families face the holiday season coping with poverty and homelessness. You can make a difference in their lives. You can help Siloam Mission and other homeless shelters make sure everyone can feel at “Home for the Holidays.”


When I ponder homelessness, I always think about 'Many Mansions' by Moe Bandy. I love that song and am touched each time I hear it.




"Hope is a thing with feathers that perches on the soul,"
Said the homeless young man standing there strong against the cold
I reached into my pocket said, "A penny for your poetry."
But when I handed him a dollar bill he was shaking his head at me
And he said these words to me

"In my Fathers house are many mansions,
Though tonight some make their beds along the streets
Where I’ve seen lives still by winters bitter chill,
In my Fathers house there’s a mansion for me."

"Sleep is a silent pleasure behind doors with deadbolt locks.
But it’s a concrete nightmare chance you take on the streets
In a cardboard box.
But I know about the eye of the needle, what will come to pass
When the least of us shall be first and the first now shall be last
Who’s homeless now I ask?"




2 comments:

Jeanette Levellie said...

I'm so glad you are involved in this worthy outreach, Linda. We take our luxuries so for granted, don't we?

Thanks for sharing this!
Jen

Linda Maendel said...

Yes, we do, Jeanette. And precisely why we feel it's important to get involved personally - it has a tendency to open the eyes as well as the heart, and you come away feeling blessed.