link to spiritual health survey results information page

Grounds for Hope

By keeping a pot of coffee brewing, a Salvation Army thrift store is changing lives.

July 12, 2013 by Linda Leigh


The Salvation Army - Salvationist.ca - Grounds for Hope

Photo: © iStockphoto.com/stacey_newman

“Coffee connects people,” declares Kyle Brennan, a Salvation Army thrift store manager in Parkdale, a suburb of Toronto. “All of us need others for support and to feel valued.”

For many in this community who live on a fixed income, the thrift store is more than a place to buy items at a low cost. On any given day, a steady flow of guests are drawn to the smell of coffee at the back of the store. Here a couple of soft couches nestled amongst shelves stacked with books invite you to relax, meet new people and engage in conversation.

Jonny’s Story
“The coffee corner is a place where I feel I belong,” says 27-year-old Jonny. “Here I can temporarily avoid focusing on my current situation.”

Jonny grew up staring out his window, wondering if he’d ever be happy. His father disowned him at birth, and his mother immersed herself in her work, leaving Jonny to fend for himself.

“I’ve always done things on my own,” he says. “It’s harder than you might think.”

With lack of parental support, Jonny questioned his self-worth. He tried to reach out for help, but when he spoke, no one listened. Jonny has never experienced genuine peace and love.

The Salvation Army - Salvationist.ca - Grounds for Hope

The coffee corner is the place where I belong,” says Jonny (Photo: Linda Leigh)

Today Jonny is unable to work due to chronic health issues. He calls the streets home and sleeps in places that are well-lit to avoid mugging. He memorizes soup-kitchen schedules and his wrinkled, dirty clothes remind him of the beating he has taken in life.

But thanks to a cup of coffee and a listening ear, Jonny has hope for a better future.

At the coffee corner Jonny met Major Doug Hammond, a Salvation Army pastor in the community. “We need to get you off the streets,” Major Doug said to him.

Trust is an issue for Jonny and he was hesitant to respond. However, he saw that Major Doug was genuine and accepted his business card. Jonny wanted nothing more than to make loneliness and homelessness a thing of his past.

“This card makes me happy,” Jonny replied. “Let’s talk.”

Speak Your Mind

*

Commissioning and Ordination of the Messengers of Light

Commissioning and Ordination of the Messengers of Light

Twenty-four new officers embark on full-time ministry in The Salvation Army.

A New Lease on Life

A New Lease on Life

For Major Debra Beaupre, a kidney transplant was life changing.

Opinion & Critical Thought

On the Move

On the Move

A new appointment is happy and sad.

Enter God’s Rest

Enter God’s Rest

Summer is a time to be renewed for ministry.

Territorial News

Celebration Closes Commissioning Weekend

Celebration Closes Commissioning Weekend

Commissioning and ordination events conclude in London, Ont.

Commissioning Events Kick Off in London, Ont.

Commissioning Events Kick Off in London, Ont.

Salvationists blessed and inspired at Festival of Music.

International News

The Salvation Army Marks World Refugee Day

General André Cox encourages Salvationists to sign petition to stand #WithRefugees.

Salvation Army in Orlando Responds to Nightclub Shooting

Salvation Army in Orlando Responds to Nightclub Shooting

Army provides support after deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

Faith & Friends

Hot Wheels

Hot Wheels

The Salvation Army helps vulnerable people access health care.

Helping Out in a Little Way

Helping Out in a Little Way

Penelope Matthews is showing the adults of Maple Ridge, B.C., how volunteering is done.