A Message from Reverend Al
Thanks to you, the Dandelion Society was an excellent resource for people without homes in this summer of COVID-19. We are undeniably grateful for your support. It’s only with your help that we can continue to advocate for the needs of Victoria’s street community during the pandemic.
This summer brought other challenges as well. Combined with COVID-19, we have witnessed the deaths of so many of our street family—due to the abundance of street drugs laced with fentanyl.
Addiction recovery is a long and lonely road, and it looks different for every single one of us. I have learned that there isn’t just one solution for all. In fact, there are many answers to the question of addiction. But all it takes is one small step to start the journey.
The work we do on the street exists because of you. I come to all of you with gratitude. I will never lose sight of the significance of your gifts and your importance to the Dandelion Society’s work on the street. Again and again, I thank you.
Reverend Al Tysick
John’s Road to Recovery
How the Dandelion Society Saved My Life
My name is John. Today, I am 42 years old, and I’m blessed to have a loving wife and two beautiful children. But my road to happiness was hard and long.
And it started with Reverend Al.
I grew up in Victoria—went to school, played sports, and even had good friends. My mom left when I was very young, so my dad raised me. He was a good man, but he was an alcoholic. He did what he could to support us, but his drinking habit incapacitated him, leaving me to pick up the pieces of our life.
I dropped out of school at 16, so I could work full time to help us pay for rent and groceries. I remember feeling scared, fully knowing that I was the only person really looking out for myself.
My drug use started soon after.
It didn’t take long for my addiction to consume me, and soon I was constantly looking for my next fix. Eventually, I lost my job and could no longer pay rent.
I had no choice but to live on the street.
It wasn’t until I met Reverend Al during one of his team’s morning runs, that I felt truly seen and supported.
“Al noticed that I was struggling, and he genuinely wanted to help me.” – John
Over the next month, Al drove me to the hospital so I could make sure that my broken leg healed properly. He also connected me with a treatment centre, where people treated me with kindness and decency. It was at this centre that my journey to recovery began. I’m proud to tell you, that as of this year, I am twelve years sober.
Last summer, I decided to take my family on a road trip from Calgary to Victoria, so they could shake hands with the man who had such a positive impact on my life.
When I first approached Al, I don’t think that he recognized me. I can’t blame him. I was wearing a nice suit and driving a brand new car. Not to mention, I had aged 15 years since we last saw each other! When I introduced myself and reminded Al of my story, I saw the recognition in his eyes.
“John!” he said. “I’m so happy that you came to visit me, it’s a true miracle to see you doing so well. Sit, and let’s have a cup of coffee.”
So I did. I caught Al up on the events of my life and, for the first time ever, I found the courage to bravely share the full details of my life on the street with my family.
Sometimes, a small act of kindness can change someone’s entire future. And I’m here to say, Reverend Al changed mine. Words cannot express how thankful I am for Al, his team, and you.
When We Called…You Answered
I can’t say this enough, volunteers and donors are the backbone of the Dandelion Society. As we round the corner into the colder months, I’ll tell you about a supporter I see once a year, every year. It’s hard to believe that this amazing woman has never missed a beat since the Dandelion Society started!
She has really bad arthritis, so bad that she can’t leave the house. So, once a year, I go to her place and she gives me things she has spent the whole year knitting. She makes everything for the homeless: toques, scarves, mitts, hats. I’m so moved to know that this is how she spends her spare time.
In different ways, so many of you dedicate yourselves to enriching our community and I’m so grateful for your help. Your acts of kindness and generosity were especially needed during this time of isolation and uncertainty. We could not have helped as many people or in as many ways, without your compassion.
Al’s Pals are regular, monthly contributors who allow us to make long term plans at the Dandelion Society.
When people without homes were hit by COVID-19, you answered our call.
Your gifts allowed us to respond to specific needs and address problems one person at a time. You let us be present, patient and kind when people felt fear for their lives.
And thanks to you, we were not only able to connect people to critical resources like food services, medical care and housing. We were also able to provide spiritual guidance and support to those who needed it most throughout this trying time.
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.
Winter is Coming!
Help Us Provide Vital Supplies
For people living on the street, the colder, wetter months introduce the risk of terrible illnesses such as trench foot, the flu, and hypothermia.
And this year, COVID-19 will make the winter season even more challenging, with social distancing protocols making it difficult for people experiencing homelessness to share spaces.
We need your help to keep up with the demand for winter gear such as blankets, sleeping bags, and warm socks. Without your kindness, many vulnerable Victorian’s will have no other choice but to go without during one of their most challenging seasons.
This fall, you can make a difference by giving to provide life-improving supplies for those in need!