Gospel Mission hosts annual barbecue

The 8th annual Kelowna Gospel Mission Well Done Barbecue took place Wednesday afternoon on Leon Avenue.

The barbecue is the Mission’s way of saying ‘thank you’ to the various local agencies who work with them to reduce the issue of homelessness in Kelowna.

“This is a time to celebrate, but also to recognize that it’s a community that does this,” says Mission Executive Director Randy Benson. “It’s not one single agency; it’s the work of everybody together that brings the successes that we see.”

Volunteers at the event served over a hundred people from local agencies, including BC Housing and Interior Health.

Kelowna-West MLA Ben Stewart also spoke.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done with getting rid of taboos that exist within society when it comes to the issues that many of the organizations here today commit to working on,” says Stewart. “Just looking at all the fantastic organizations represented here today, there is a tremendous amount of strength that can be harnessed.”

The Kelowna Gospel Mission operates a 90-bed shelter, and serves anywhere from 500 to 600 meals a day to those in need.

Director Benson also talked about the story of woman named Jackie, who lived on and off the streets for 15 years.

“She is now 18 months sober, living in a home, has a car and a full time job,” says Benson. “This would not have happened without community collaboration. It’s important to get together and celebrate the people who have succeeded in leaving the street life behind and shed tears over those we have lost.”