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Campaign starts to help with Ruth & Naomi's expansion

Bill Raddatz (right), executive director at Ruth and Naomi
Bill Raddatz (right), executive director at Ruth and Naomi's, speaks with Stuart Rodgers at the facility on Thursday morning. Rodgers, who lives just a few blocks away, is one of many people who uses the new day programs offered at Ruth and Naomi's like its complimentary laundry machines.
— image credit: JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS

Chilliwack's most needy can now get a free haircut, a refreshing shower and a chance to do a load of laundry in downtown Chilliwack.

It's all part of the new daytime programs at Ruth & Naomi's Mission, which have been up and running since the beginning of November.

Expanded services are now being made available since getting settled in their new two-storey building on Margaret Avenue, said Bill Raddatz, executive director at Ruth & Naomi's.

The local faith-based mission is currently launching its annual fundraising campaign, in the hopes that the larger community will see fit to offer affirmation of their work in the form of generous financial donations.

"With our new building double the size, it's meant double the programs and double the cost."

They've set a fundraising target goal of $50,000 for this campaign.

"The theme is, 'Help us to help others' and that's been our main message," said Raddatz.

That dovetails with the mission's tagline: "Our people. Our Community. Our Opportunity."

"Most of our donations to date have come from the faith community but we want to reach out with this effort, going beyond that and see ownership taken as well by the community at large."

In terms of the new daytime activities, the new Refresh and Replenish program is held four mornings a week where hampers or clothing are handed out, and there's a chance for street people to freshen up or do laundry.

There are services for women only starting at 1 p.m. on those four days, with tea, games, crafts and more, then a general drop-in from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. for socializing and refreshments.

Dinner and devotions are between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. and the emergency shelter service runs from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., which is part of the "step in" programming.

Nightly they average about eight men guests, to three women in the shelter.

The "step-up" program on the second floor offers supportive housing for up to 24 months to help the homeless and addicted men get off the streets and reclaim their lives with the help of counselling.

"We try to get their confidence back up so they can eventually find their way," said Raddatz.

They have eight residents currently in the supportive housing program, but have room for more.

"We know we're changing people's lives. We just need some help."

The mission provides more than 65,000 meals every year.

All gifts over $20 are income tax deductible.

For more details call 604-795-2322 or www.ruthandnaomis.ca

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

Twitter.com/chwkjourno

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