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

*

Embracing the Darkness

Embracing the Darkness

The shadows of Maundy Thursday give way to the light of Easter.

Intensive Care

Intensive Care

When hospital chaplain Major Violet Chaulk faced her own battle with cancer, she had to find a personal place of healing.

Opinion & Critical Thought

Cultivating a Christlike Attitude

Cultivating a Christlike Attitude

How to weed out bitterness.

The High Call of Following

The High Call of Following

Do we pray before we complain about our leaders?

Territorial News

Watch THQ Holy Week Services 2015

Watch THQ Holy Week Services 2015

This year’s theme: “Move our Hearts to Remember.”

Gala Dinner Benefits Army in St. John’s

Gala Dinner Benefits Army in St. John’s

Event honours John and Jane Crosbie, raises funds for Army’s New Hope Community Centre.

International News

Salvation Army Responds to Floods in Peru and Chile

Salvation Army Responds to Floods in Peru and Chile

Teams distribute groceries and water to affected communities.

Three Remote Communities on Vanuatu Assisted by Salvation Army

Three Remote Communities on Vanuatu Assisted by Salvation Army

Army prioritizes providing food, shelter and water for those affected by Cyclone Pam.

Faith & Friends

Business As Usual

Business As Usual

When a homeless man camped out on a Salvation Army thrift-store floor, the generous staff took action.

Escape From North Korea

Escape From North Korea

A simple piano started my journey to freedom, faith and The Salvation Army.