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

*

Grace Notes

Grace Notes

National Music Camp staff and students share why it’s the best week of the year.

Bread of Life

Bread of Life

A learning and fellowship program helps single mothers better provide for their families.

Opinion & Critical Thought

It’s Not Fair!

It’s Not Fair!

Were you born in a bread country or a cake country? The answer makes a world of difference.

The Day Laughter Died

The Day Laughter Died

A tribute to Robin Williams.

Territorial News

Territorial Survey Reveals Most Valued Areas of Ministry

Results to help Army strengthen connection between behaviours and values.

Salvation Army Joins Faith Leaders in Condemning Persecution in Mosul, Iraq

Leaders stand with those committed to ensuring respect for the human rights of all.

International News

Salvation Army Supports Ferguson Community after Fatal Shooting

The Salvation Army offers practical and spiritual support for the community of Ferguson, Missouri, following the shooting of a young man by a police officer.

Young People Grow in Faith at European Youth Event

Young People Grow in Faith at European Youth Event

Among the sporting events, worship, games and workshops at EYE 2014, youth are challenged to deepen their relationship with Christ.

Faith & Friends

Angels in Blue

Angels in Blue

For this Canadian traveller stranded at Heathrow Airport, two Salvation Army pastors were a godsend

The Salvation Army’s Transitional House in Ottawa: Committed to Change

The Salvation Army’s Transitional House in Ottawa: Committed to Change

For Shawn, an Army addictions program was there when he needed it the most.