Monday morning Gopher Global woke bright and early to eat a hearty breakfast generously provided by our hotel. We all needed the energy to prepare us for the day ahead, and none of us knew exactly what the day was going to entail. After we finished eating, we quickly loaded the bus to ride over the Siloam Mission.
At Siloam, we were broken up into three different groups to volunteer our time. One group was on kitchen duty, another on donation sorting, and the last at drop-in. Hopefully by the end of the trip, everyone will get a chance to help out in each of the three areas, as all offer new perspectives and opportunities for those involved. The kitchen duty gives volunteers a chance to work as a team in a high-pressure environment to get the food out as efficiently as possible to everyone in need. The drop-in position gives those volunteering an opportunity to interact with people and form a bond with those that we were serving. Lastly, the donation sorting is one of the most important positions at Siloam because of the abundant amounts of donations that they receive. It would not be possible to distribute all of the clothing and items without the help of volunteers.
After spending a couple of hours volunteering our time at Siloam, we were happy to be given an educational tour from one of the staff members, Victoria. We all were very impressed by their facilities, especially the cleanliness and amount of space and resources dedicated to helping people in need. Hannah’s Place Emergency Shelter, on the second floor of Siloam, was perhaps what impressed the most of us. It was extremely spacious and contained 110 beds for people in need of a place to stay every night. It also had lockers to keep personal items safe, and showers and toiletry items for people to wash up in. On the floor above the shelter there was a gym to work out in and even career counseling and other rooms for activities and resources to make positive steps toward goals and developing hope.
After our tour at Siloam, we ate a quick lunch before heading over to Winnipeg Harvest. There we were met by Kelly, a frequent volunteer, to tour their facilities and learn about what we would be doing during our time there. Winnipeg Harvest offered many of the same or similar resources as Siloam, and even offered classes to the less fortunate in areas such as technology and Microsoft Office. We also got a chance to see the new gardens that are used to grow some of the food that is packaged and shipped to neighboring shelters and food shelves. At the completion of the tour, we put on our hairnets, aprons, and gloves to get to work. Our task was to sort through hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds of potatoes and onions. Though not the best smelling of tasks, we all knew that it had to be done and would be helping those less fortunate than us.
Once we had finished our work at Winnipeg Harvest, we all were itching to get a good workout in. We all managed to get a sweat going by getting in a good lift or run before getting ready to tour some of the sights. By recommendation, we decided to explore an area of Winnipeg known as The Forks. Once there, we split up into various groups to see the shops and roam around near the river, taking in the beautiful views of the river and buildings on either side. A few of us even rented tandem bikes to get a better view of the city. It was an interesting, yet fun experience.
While exploring one of the shops, a local told a few of us about a spinning restaurant that overlooked the city. How could we pass that up? Even though we knew that dinner was in only a couple of hours, a group of us decided to order desserts at Prairie 360, the spinning restaurant. It was an unforgettable experience that gave us a unique view of the city that we could have never obtained from the ground.
Gopher Global joined together for a late dinner at a nearby restaurant from the hotel before calling it a night. We all had far too much energy left last night after all of the work we had done earlier that day. Luckily, our energy levels continued to remain high going into Tuesday.
Siloam estimates that is gave out 35000
pairs of socks.
The clothing room had 14675 visits
averaging 33% women and 67% men.
Last year Siloam Mission hosted
including 559 groups.
Volunteers gave 83769 hours
which is the equivalent to
40 full time staff.
If you planted hope today in any hopeless heart, if someone's burden was lighter because you did your part, if you caused a laugh that chased a tear away, if tonight your name is mentioned when someone kneels to pray, then your day was well spent."