~ By Reverend Jonathan Chan
Former General Director, 105 Gibson Centre
Since 2013, 105 Gibson Centre has been serving the needy. Yet sometimes it is hard to even imagine that there are needy around us because of the success stories of the community. The reality is, there are those who are “hidden” in the community. How do we reach out to the hidden and respond to their needs?
The Out of the Cold Program by Mosaic Interfaith is a program that had been hosted at the Toronto Christian Community Church for the past eight years. In 2019, it will be taking place at 105 Gibson for the first time. We are more than happy to offer those in need a meal and a warm place to get away from the cold winter nights when the temperature outside becomes unbearable and deadly. I can still recall how beautiful and relaxing it was when the OOTC guests stayed inside the Centre under a beam of sunlight several years ago. They were waiting for their next bus and the Centre had became an impromptu bus stop for them. I was touched by the quietness and comfort of their waiting under the sun and in that instant, we shared a common humanity through the warmth and safety. I know that it was made possible through God’s grace.
We are also planning for a Christian Counselling Centre, providing affordable professional counselling services along with educational and informative workshops for the community. Depression is common in the community with Asians and new comers being a hidden group. Youth is the age group that is affected the most. Because of the stigma and preconceptions of depression, it is not easy to find and help them. Yet statistics and personal encounters show that this is a much-needed service. It takes creativity and sincerity to reach out to them and for them to come forward. The Counselling Centre will be a non-threatening way to reach and heal human heart, emotions and relationships. This will be the last piece of the holistic services we offer in the mission we started five years ago.
Looking ahead, let us offer a helping hand and walk a tiny mile with those in need.