The Cathedral community has long been known for it’s “Open Doors.” This month the Cathedral’s Maundy Ministries is expanding the definition of open doors to include the doors to this country.
With the support of the Sovereign Order of St. John, the Anglican Initiatives fund, and in collaboration with the Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia, The Maundy is helping welcome newcomers to Canada.
“Families who are being resettled in Canada are arriving regularly. Currently when they arrive they have to quarantine for 14 days,” says Vienne Chan, the director of The Maundy Ministries. “The welcome packs are a way of making their arrival and quarantine a bit easier by providing them with everything they need for that period,” she says.
Each family member receives a pack with the basic toiletries they will need for two weeks, some covid-related items, and things they’ll need for life in Vancouver - like reusable shopping bags. There are kits for adults, youth, children and infants.
School-age children receive a special backpack that also includes things they will need once they are able to start school - and things to keep them entertained in quarantine. “These children have gone through alot already, having a backpack and supplies hopefully makes that first day in a new Canadian school a little bit easier,” says Vienne.
Because resettled families often arrive in groups, with little advance warning, it is important to have welcome packs ready and waiting. This is where the Maundy’s dedicated volunteers and support from the community come into play.
Thanks to grants from the Sovereign Order of St. John and the Anglican Initiatives Foundation, Maundy is able to purchase the toiletries for the welcome kits and backpacks for school-age children. Flatten The Curve, an organization started by Susan Scott Gabe who is a member of the Sovereign Order of St. John, provides cloth masks for the welcome kits.
Scott Gabe started the welcome pack project through the auspices of the Sovereign Order of St. John. While preparing to move out of the city she started looking for an organization to take over the welcome pack project and approached the Cathedral and The Maundy Ministries. “Sovereign Order of St. John, Knights Hospitaller (SOSJ) has been a supporter of the Cathedral’s Maundy Cafe project for a number of years. We have been most impressed with the dedication of its more than 75 volunteers to build health, belonging, and reconciliation in communities affected by poverty by providing take-away meals, emergency food hampers, and grocery cards to families in need. We feel there is a strong alignment with the two organizations values and the need to welcome and support newcomers to Canada. When the Cathedral agreed to continue the management of the much-needed newcomers’ welcome pack program, we were delighted,” says Susan Scott Gabe, SOSJ Special Projects.”
With more and more newcomers being represented in the Maundy’s food line up, it made sense to Vienne to take on this project specifically for newcomers.
Now dedicated Maundy volunteers, including the Seaforth Highlanders, lend a hand preparing materials for and packing the welcome kits.
There are opportunities for everyone to take part in welcoming newcomers through these arrival kits. While there are sufficient volunteers to help with the assembly of packs, community members can donate the following new items:
toothpaste (for children as well)
toothbrushes (for children as well)
2 in 1 shampoo conditioner
backpacks (all sizes)
non-toxic washable felt pens (must be washable)
small towels for babies
reusable shopping bags
Because the content of the packs is standardized, donations of other items not on this list cannot be accepted.
If you have questions about how to donate, contact Vienne at firstname.lastname@example.org