Ruth and Naomi’s will be at Party in the Park

"We're seeing poverty levels increasing," said Bill Raddatz, executive director at Ruth & Naomi's Mission in Chilliwack.

About 90 Love in Motion cyclists were in Chilliwack for lunch at Ruth an Naomi's Mission on July 1.

Ruth & Naomi’s Mission could use a hand.

The need for their services seems to be on the rise in downtown Chilliwack.

“We’re seeing poverty levels increasing,” said Bill Raddatz, executive director at Ruth & Naomi’s.

They’re used to feeding about 110 people per night. Now they see an average of 155 people for a typical evening meal.

“That’s a huge increase, and we like to give out food hampers, too,” he said.

But their hamper closet shelves are rather bare at the moment. This is despite the fact that fresh produce donations, through programs like Food Matters Chilliwack’s ‘Plant A Row/Grow A Row’ have increased slightly with the start of summer harvesting.

“We had mothers arrive crying for food as recently as last week. So I think what we’re facing is an increase in poverty at a time where we’re at our lowest both in terms of volunteers and food items.”

In June they saw as many as 170 people showing up for evening meal.

“That’s unprecedented. We used to see about three families. Now we’re seeing seven or eight,” said Raddatz.

There’s two places to donate this week for anyone interested in helping out. One is at the Ruth & Naomi’s yellow tent at Party in the Park on Friday night. Kids can have some fun with the coin toss.

The next opportunity is at the Chilliwack Alliance Church on Saturday, July 12, during their car show fundraiser for the mission.

Love in Motion has selected Ruth & Naomi’s to receive part proceeds from its Ride Across Canada fundraiser supporting the needy in at-risk urban communities. Cyclists were on hand in Chilliwack last week, and motorcyclists are also expected to arrive on Thursday.

“About 90 of the cyclists were here for lunch, so we could thank them,” Raddatz said.

The Chilliwack charity will receive 67 per cent of all the funds raised by Love in Motion participants in B.C. That could mean more than $150,000 this fall, which can be used for capital projects only.