A Message From Reverend Al
In times of great distress, it’s more important than ever to rally together as a community. People like you have taught me that. And every time I put out the call, the kind-hearted rise to the occasion. My faith in humanity has never been stronger than it is today and it’s all because of you.
Thank you for giving over the Easter holiday. The season of hope looked different than past years due to the onset of a global health crisis. But still, you rose. Our city’s most vulnerable needed those with more capacity to care now more than ever before. And donors like yourself did not fail them.
It’s in times like these that we have a true need for stories of hope, renewal, and promise for tomorrow. I hope this edition of the Dandelion Report shows you how much power you have to affect change and restores your faith in the future.
Speaking for those we serve, a hundred times—thank you. Thank you for your courage to act despite your own troubles. And thank you for showing up for those who needed it the most.
Reverend Al Tysick
Edgar’s Story: Hospital Bound
Inspiring Hope by Reaching the Heart
Edgar awoke abruptly from a light sleep. Before he even opened his eyes, he could hear a rhythmic beep coming from somewhere nearby. Then someone was speaking to him.
A smiling nurse said, “Hi Edgar, you’re in the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria.”
“I want to know what’s going on,” the fear in Edgar’s voice was palpable. He felt overwhelmed and wanted to leave.
What happened next was unexpected. A familiar face walked into his room. It was Reverend Al, and he immediately asked the hospital staff what was going on.
At the sight of his friend, Edgar felt the tension start to leave his body. And that’s when he noticed he was in pain—a lot of pain.
Reverend Al sorted things out quickly. “Ed, these people are trying to help you. They need to take a bit of your blood for some tests, can you let them do that?”
He relented, extending his arm, allowing the medical professionals to take the sample. When they’d gone, Reverend Al pulled up a big, bulky rose-coloured hospital chair and sat next to him.
“I think you’ll like what I’ve brought for you,” Rev Al said, smiling wide. He pointed at a TV set sitting next to him on the floor. In the commotion, Edgar hadn’t noticed Reverend Al had brought him a TV. Reverend Al placed the TV to the left of Edgar’s bed, atop a DVD machine on a small table by the window.
“The cost of renting a TV at the hospital is ridiculous, thankfully, someone from the community donated one, along with this DVD player and a bunch of movies for you,” Reverend Al said.
Edgar was stunned.
He looked at Rev Al, tears collecting in his eyes. The sterile environment in the hospital was a breeding-ground for fear, in Edgar’s opinion. But the worst part was being stuck in bed for endless hours. Except for Reverend Al, no one visited him and he had no way to pass the time. Edgar was shocked that someone in the community cared about him enough to give up their TV. “That means a lot. Thank you,” was all he could think to say.
It was all thanks to an incredible donor like you that Edgar received a TV, DVD player and set of DVDs to make his stay at the Royal Jubilee Hospital more comfortable.
He was shocked that someone in the community cared that much about him. “That means a lot. Thank you,” was all he could think to say.
Your gifts allow Reverend Al and the Dandelion Society to visit members of Victoria’s street community when they’ve experienced a health crisis and are admitted into the hospital. If you’ve ever been in that situation, you know how frightening and lonely a stay in the hospital can be. Thanks to your generosity, our street community isn’t alone.
Thank you for allowing the Dandelion Society to be there for our street family when they need it most!
Donate online to share hope with Victoria’s street community today!
Shining a Light on Community Support
A Lightbulb Moment
My name is Niki Ottosen, and I’m a volunteer and longtime supporter of the Dandelion Society.
I was introduced to Reverend Al and his work years ago when I saw him being interviewed on the news. I’ll never forget the report of a 50-year-old man discovered in Gorge Park. He had died in the snow all alone, forgotten by society until that day.
Reverend Al was asked to respond to the question, “What can the average person do?” He said, “They can love them where they’re at. If they’re cold, give them a blanket. If they’re hungry, get them some food.”
It was so simple. And it was a lightbulb moment for me.
I worked as a gardener for the City of Victoria’s Parks Department. I had seen our homeless neighbours struggling to survive outside and noticed the make-shift beds they made in the parks. Too often, we were told to throw them out—but we just didn’t have the heart to do it.
I knew I had to contribute in some way.
That’s when I founded The Backpack Project. It started with just me and my family handing out backpacks filled with comfort items and necessities—anything you’d need if you’re spending a long time outside.
I’ve been extremely lucky to partner with Reverend Al many times over the years. He helps distribute my backpacks to the places where people need them most. In turn, I lent my time to the Dandelion Society’s morning runs providing hot coffee and company to those in need.
When Reverend Al asked me to volunteer, I was worried I wouldn’t know how to do what he does. But he assured me that only one thing matters: a passion for helping people. If you’d like to volunteer, it’s as easy as reaching out to get involved!
If you’re strapped for time, please consider giving! While warm clothing and socks are amazing, so are items like tarps and umbrellas—even yoga mats can help keep sleeping bags warm and dry.
Community support like yours makes such an incredible difference. Please drop gifts off at the Raincoast Business Centre on Pandora or donate online at hopeliveshere.ca/donate.
By becoming one of Al’s Pals, you are helping the root of the issue. We work directly on the streets of Victoria and are here to come alongside those who are struggling to get by on the streets. Help us get to the heart of poverty by becoming one of Al’s Pals today.
Forecasting Summer Needs
Anticipating Sunny Days Ahead
During the summer, Victoria’s street community still needs supplies that help them meet their basic needs. What’s more, they need help finding relief during the hottest days of the year.
Heat exhaustion and sunstroke threaten lives each and every year. But access to things like hats, sunscreen, and water bottles allow our neighbours experiencing homelessness to cool off when temperatures soar.
This summer, don’t forget about our city’s most vulnerable. Without your help, the long hot days will be difficult for those enduring hardship on our streets.
Please give, you could help someone struggling to survive this summer.
When temperatures soar, the heat poses a risk for Victoria’s street community. Keep our neighbours safe this summer by giving online at hopeliveshere.ca/donate.