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Fighting Homelessness in Our Community, One Night at a Time

MaryAnne Connor & Merinda Widmer
Merinda presents her check to NightShift Founder MaryAnne Connor.

Surrey BC is a city in a period of growth. The third fastest-growing city in Canada, Surrey welcomes more than 1000 new residents every month. It’s affordable housing prices make it a desirable spot for young couples and recent immigrants to set up their home.

But not everyone is benefiting from this economic boom. In Surrey alone, an average of 600 people sleep on the streets every night, in doorways, makeshift shelters, tents, or dilapidated motor homes without heat or plumbing. This number soars to over 2,000 when you count the entire homeless population of the Greater Vancouver area.

Surrey is also the home of Raven Supply. Our head office is located near the rapidly growing Newton area. Our staff live nearby and know the businesses and community first hand. We also try to do what they can to give back to the city when we can. 

Inside Sales Engineer Merinda Widmer kept this in mind when she chose NightShift Street Ministries as the recipient of her Raven Giving Fund donation. 

“I chose NightShift as my non-profit organization because of the amazing things they’re doing for Surrey’s homeless population,” she explains. “At a time when more than 7,000 people in our province are homeless, their services are more crucial than ever.”

NightShift Kitchen
New kitchen facilities at NightShift.

During a 2018 survey of the homeless population in BC, 58% of individuals surveyed reported that they live with two or more medical conditions, while 44% reported one medical condition and 33% reported a physical disability. When it came to mental illness, the numbers were also sobering, with 40% of respondents battling mental health conditions as well as spending cold nights on the street. 

“It’s always surprised me how many misconceptions people have about the homeless community,” Merinda says, adding that she believes that no one is to fault for ending up without a roof over their head. 

“This organization does fantastic things to help our local homeless population,” she continues. “In 2017, NightShift provided 36,500 hot meals, 3,500 warm blankets, 810 safe nights of sleep for women, and 105 evenings of the car bus. All this and more without any government funding.”

Merinda’s Raven Giving Fund contribution of $250.00 will go towards helping NightShift continue this valuable work. Every year, the Raven Giving Fund gives each of our employees $250.00 to donate to a charity or non-profit organization of their choice. Thanks Merinda for being a great community member and an outstanding member of the Raven team!

To find out more about NightShift, please click here.