Although Surrey Urban Mission Society runs out of North Surrey – providing services to people who are homeless and living in poverty – there is little question the Semiahmoo Peninsula plays a role in its success.
Just ask volunteer and South Surrey resident Patricia Jessen, who has been garnering local support for the community centre for the past six months.
For Jessen, it doesn’t make a difference where one lives in Surrey – or in White Rock, for that matter – because everyone is part of a larger community.
“The official city boundaries don’t need to create boundaries in our care for one another.”
Surrey Urban Mission Society (SUMS) is a ministry of the BC Synod of the Evangelical Church in Canada, and is located at 13388 104 Ave. in Whalley.
It was through Mount Olive Lutheran Church at 148 Street and 24 Avenue – which Jessen has been a member of for 18 years – that she learned about SUMS when it started 10 years ago.
Now retired, Jessen took on the role in February of liaison between the society and Mount Olive, communicating the needs of SUMS to the local congregation.
“I’ve always had a passion for people in need and ways I can help out,” she said. “I’ve been blessed with an abundance of needs in my life and I like to share them with others.”
The local church hosts two dinners a year in benefit of SUMS, and numerous congregation members volunteer at the centre, cooking and serving meals to people who can’t afford to purchase food throughout the week. The combined support from various volunteers and organizations allows the society to serve more than 1,200 meals a week.
“We have a calling as a compassionate member of the larger community to reach out and to share whatever gifts we have whether it’s time or talent or financial or organization gifts – whatever gifts we have,” Jessen said. “It’s just an overall awareness of the needs of people who might not have the abundance of daily needs that some of us do.”
And while some residents south of Whalley may not be aware of SUMS’ services, the relocation of city hall to the area may heighten its profile, Jessen noted.
“We’re very hopeful it will mean good and positive and kind of a renewed awareness of SUM’s existence.”
In the meantime, the society is gearing up for a commemoration of its 10th anniversary, and everyone in the community is invited to take part or contribute.
The inaugural Soup de Jour Celebration will be held Sept. 23 from 5 to 9 p.m. at Viceroy Banquet Hall, 8580 132 St.
Surrey restaurants are donating soup for the evening, which will also feature mocktails, food, local entertainment and auctions.
In keeping with the mission’s tradition, the event is free of charge. All proceeds will benefit SUMS’ programs and services.
For more information, call 604-581-5172 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
To get involved locally, call Jessen at 604-786-4711.