A Message From Reverend Al
As spring arrives and Victoria erupts in blossoms and sun-filled parks, there is a huge weight that is lifted off the shoulders of our street community. Winter is difficult and with the spring comes not only better weather, but an ease of burden and a sense of hope for their futures.
Because of your gifts, The Dandelion Society has been able to make such a difference here in Victoria. There is still more support needed, particularly funds to support our morning runs. Everything you give goes directly to helping those living on the streets. In this issue of our newsletter, I am excited to share some statistics with you so you can see the vast impact of your support and how every little contribution makes a big difference to those who need it the most.
This spring, I am thankful for many things. I am thankful for the warmer weather, and for my many friendships that I have built through the Dandelion Society’s work this year. Most of all, I am thankful for you. Thank you for choosing hope and choosing to support our work here at the Dandelion Society.
Reverend Al Tysick
Prior to becoming homeless, Peter worked for a local construction company for 22 years as a carpenter. When he was diagnosed with autoimmune pancreatitis, he was unfortunately unable to continue working. As his funds grew low and his disease became more and more debilitating, he eventually ended up on the streets.
Seventeen months later and Peter is now unable to walk long distances and relegated to taking antibiotics and other medicines frequently. In the past year, he has been in and out of the hospital about 30 times. Up until just a few months ago, Peter was living on the streets and using the facilities at Rock Bay Landing when needed.
At first on the streets, Peter felt isolated and alone. With a big family, including six kids and fourteen grandkids – most of them living in Port Alberni, Peter was used to being surrounded by loved ones. Unable to afford the trip back home to Port Alberni, he ended up missing his daughter’s wedding and hasn’t even met his two latest grandchildren. But still, he manages to have a close relationship by phoning as much as possible. “My first daughter got married and I couldn’t be there. They send me pictures and it’s heartbreaking to know that I couldn’t be there,” Peter explains as his determination shines through, “so that’s my goal—to save enough money to go up there.”
While he was in and out of shelters, things got quite tough for Peter. When he didn’t think he could take it anymore, he met with Reverend Al to see if he could help him find a place. Just a few days later, the news arrived that Rev Al had found him an apartment on Vancouver Street.
Peter went from homeless to housed in just 2 hours. Rev Al took him straight to his new apartment and as Peter explained emotionally, “I didn’t care what it looked like. I actually started to cry, I was so amazed. It made my year.”
Today, Peter is housed and feeling more and more stable every day. Thinking about his future, he is cautiously optimistic. Hopeful that his health will continue to improve and he will be able to work full time again, Peter is grateful for everything that the Dandelion Society has done to get him to his present position.
And while Peter still has some steps he would like to take for himself, he is now giving back to the Dandelion Society by volunteering. He finds blankets, washes them in his new apartment, and walks around at night and early morning to deliver them to his street family.
“I am so happy for where I am and what the Dandelion Society has done for me,” he says. “Rev Al puts a lot of work into helping people and that’s amazing for him to do.”
A Thank You To Our Volunteers
This year, you have shown your overwhelming support and have brought hope and belonging to those who are battling homelessness and addiction. Thank you for your help! Nothing we do would be possible without your volunteer service. You can see the impacts below to see where your support has gone—and know that all of our services are 100% donor funded.
- 800 pairs of socks per month ($400)
- 160 sleeping bags per month ($800)
- 4,500 cups of coffee per month ($150)
- 6,000 cookies per month ($1,200)
- 300 bus tickets per month ($750)
- 2 Dandelion Society vans: gas & maintenance ($650)
- 15 Greyhound tickets per month ($550)
- 10 gifts for people in the hospital, per month ($200)
- 2 jail visits per month ($40)
- 12 local doctor, recovery and probation appointments per month ($200)
Summer Is Here
Spring is passing quickly and we are close to enjoying the wonderful sunny summer days of Victoria. With the sun and the heat comes so much enjoyment – except for our friends on the street, it also means they have less resources. As there is a common misconception that it’s much easier to live on the streets when it’s summer, contributions and support for the Dandelion Society tends to drop.
Unfortunately, it isn’t true that support isn’t needed as much in the summer. The nights can still see dropping temperatures and the hot daytimes can cause serious health risks such as dehydration, sunburn and heat stroke.
While vacation planning, travels, and kids’ camps take priority for many in the summer, please consider giving a gift this season. There are so many who need your support during these months and anything you are able to give makes such a difference to many in need. Thank you for your generosity.