When the third Sunday of the month rolls around, a Comox Valley mother and daughter are making life a little more bearable for those without a home.
Angela Anderson and her daughter Kara, 15, have created a service called Sunday Station, which provides individuals with a sandwich, coffee, articles of clothing and toiletries out of the parking lot at the old Courtenay train station.
“In December, my daughter and I decided this year we wanted to do something different for Christmas,” Anderson said. “We made turkey sandwiches, and the day after Christmas we took to the streets and handed them out to anyone that was on the street. Found it to be very overwhelming, and such a need. It was kind of heart-breaking.”
One man in particular pulled on her heartstrings. Barry, who had a job and a house, was hurt at work. He had received disability payments, but they eventually dried up.
“His story really hit me,” Anderson said. “It can happen, just like that. Not all of them are out there just because they got into drugs.”
Realizing the service was more than a one-time venture, she used social media and word-of-mouth to gather donations of clothes and blankets — and Sunday Station grew from there.
“The generosity of the community was amazing. We got lots of clothes and shoes and blankets.”
Anderson, a single mother who works as a care aide, wasn’t able to continue buying food for the program. So she appealed to businesses such as Tim Hortons, Starbucks and Thrifty Foods, which are all donating to the cause.
“It’s been amazing,” she said.
At times, around 20 people would show up for a sandwich and coffee during the winter months. Anderson could not offer the service when the coronavirus pandemic struck, but she used the time to register Sunday Station as a non-profit society. She and Kara re-started the service in July, but she found the 4:30 p.m. time to be too quiet. In August, she changed the time to 7 p.m., which drew a better turnout.
“I’m just grateful that we’re able to do it,” Anderson said. “It’s gotten so big — I never expected it to progress to this stage. Happy that it did. It’s a great feeling.”
Mother and daughter now have a third helper in the mix, Robin Macdonald, who assists with donations.
Along with food and clothing, there is an added bonus that makes Sunday Station even more special. Each bagged sandwich comes with a note that contains a positive message.
“It could be something simple — You matter to me, or You make a difference, or You’re special. Just something that they know that somebody’s thinking of them,” Anderson said. “The feedback has been really good. They seem to appreciate that.”
The next Sunday Station is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 20. The old Courtenay train station is located at 923 Cumberland Rd.
Anyone wishing to donate can email Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org