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Good Shepherd Ministries
412 Queen Street East
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The busiest day I’ve ever seen in Good Shepherd Centre’s drop-in happened this year, on the Victoria Day holiday in May.
We welcomed 712 visitors in 2 hours. The dining room only seats 164 people, so when things get that busy, more than half our guests are waiting in line.
The line was so long it filled the ramp where people can wait inside. It filled Tracy Street and wrapped around the Good Shepherd building.
Anybody would get impatient waiting in a line that long. But for our guests – many of them struggling with mental health problems, with addictions, with chronic pain, with traumatic brain injury – a line like that can be the last straw.
As Good Shepherd’s drop-in worker, I try to keep the drop-in a welcoming, safe place for everyone. So on this busy holiday Monday, I supervised the line inside. One of my colleagues went to keep the peace outside. Eventually, everyone got a chance to eat.
On a normal day in the drop-in, we welcome between 300 and 500 guests. The line moves quickly. People have time to socialize. One guest comes every day, eats his breakfast, reads his newspaper. Then he gives me the paper so other guests can enjoy it.
When I open the doors each morning, I walk along the line to see if anyone needs clothing, or if anyone is sick.
One day, I saw someone with no shoes and skin problems on his feet. I told him about the foot clinic on Wednesdays in our medical clinic. I got him a pair of socks and shoes from the clothing room. In just a week, there was big difference.
Thank you for helping to make the drop-in at Good Shepherd a place where people can feel safe and welcome; for making it a place where recovery can begin.