Self-reflection and looking inwards are not always the easiest things to do. They may expose flaws or areas that need improvement but we aren’t willing to accept.
That’s why the staff and volunteers at Vernon’s Upper Room Mission deserve strong praise for deciding that its mandate requires a new approach.
As of now, the public will still be able to access free meals three times a day from Monday to Friday, but there will be no service on the weekends. It’s a direct attempt to force those individuals to take some responsibility for their own lives.
“If they’re hungry, they just come here. It’s way too easy,” said Lisa Froom, general manager.
“There’s a dependence and entitlement that’s not healthy.”
By relying on the mission, cooking skills are not developed. There is no sense of how to budget to ensure there is sufficient money to purchase food.
If you can’t handle a simple task like going to the grocery store or preparing a meal, how will you handle more substantial challenges — whether it is seeking employment, going to school, raising children or coping with substance abuse?
We should keep in mind that the mission’s new structure is focused towards people who largely have a place to call home. For those who are actually homeless and accessing the Gateway Shelter, meals will still be available seven days a week.
The new structure also indicates that the mission takes the financial support of the community seriously and donations are being used wisely.
In the end, the Upper Room Mission is there to help people in need but it’s not there to be part of an endless cycle of dependence.
– Vernon Morning Star