Friendship and food offered in Charlottetown

Man smiles and accepts coffee
by Maritime
Categories: 2018, Uncategorized

Prince Edward Island is known as the home of Anne of Green Gables and the birthplace of Confederation, attracting tourists from across Canada and beyond. With 150,000 residents, it’s the smallest province by size and population. But it’s not immune to the social problems that affect larger cities and provinces.

Major Daniel Roode, corps officer at The Salvation Army’s Charlottetown Community Church, sees these problems up close. P.E.I. is the fastest-growing Atlantic province, according to the most recent census, and that has put pressure on the housing market. For those who can’t afford housing, it means homelessness; for those who can, but just barely, it means less money for food and other essentials.

“I’m a senior and I’ve got rent and bills to pay and that leaves me short,” says Carolyn MacNeill, who has come to the Friendship Room for the past five years. “It’s not easy, but it’s even more difficult if you’re on welfare because they don’t as much as seniors get.”

The church’s Friendship Room, which is open every weekday, aims to help alleviate these issues. “The Friendship Room reaches out to vulnerable people,” says Major Daniel, “providing an opportunity for them to come in off the street in the morning and get a continental breakfast.” Donated food items such as fresh bread and canned goods are also available for anyone to take while the program is operating.

Mark Tippett has been coming to the Friendship Room for two years. “I don’t have a lot of money,” says Mark, who has been on disability since he injured his leg. “There are good people here and it’s nice to just have breakfast and talk.”

Major Daniel notes that the Friendship Room welcomes people of all backgrounds, but especially people who are homeless, on fixed incomes, the working poor and newcomers to Canada. “It really is a cross-section of humanity, and a cross-section of our society as we see it evolving in Canada today,” he says.

Story originally seen in the Salvationist, written by Kristin Ostensen.