OPEN ARMS Resource Centre Society
Open Arms is a community supported registered charity made up of a network of about 250 volunteers from Wolfville to Bridgetown who have come our way from many different churches, community groups, businesses, schools and more. Initially established as a Community Chaplaincy/Advocacy for people in need, we were quickly hit with how much need there was. In response to the needs we encountered, we began a shelter program to complement our front-line advocacy work. Inn From The Cold now operates from seven local churches with the assistance of Police and many community volunteers. Emergency shelter has been provided for more than 1000 individuals over the past twelve years. For the past seven years we have only had the resources to operate the emergency shelter from November through April, with motels and transitional housing being used during the warmer months. It is our hope to soon provide this emergency service year round once again.
Several years ago it became clear that we needed a permanent and adequate location to serve our guests and participants, so we purchased a building in Kentville. From this 'Resource Centre', we manage our numerous programs in Kentville as well as a Drop-in / Outreach Program in Berwick. While this is a big investment, we have already seen the great value in this move. We hope to establish a third location in the Kingston - Middleton area in the coming months.
Many people who come to Open Arms start down a positive road towards furthering education, gaining employment, and participation in addiction & Life Skills programs. We have created a safe place for others to simply build positive relationships. Our services and relationship building model are complimented by several other agencies and non-profit organizations for whom we provide free office and meeting space. The Kentville location is open mornings and evening, six days per week (Monday – Saturday), serving hundreds of individuals each month as well as responding to countless other calls for other assistance. It is a place where people can be warm, safe and fed as well as be directed to other relevant community services they may be in need of. Aside from those most basic needs, numerous helps and supports are available at the drop-in through the week. Addiction supports, art & literacy programs, spiritual supports, counseling and job / resume helps are also available. People using the Inn From the Cold program are directed to our drop-in team for assessment and referrals. Approximately 80 regular volunteers make the programs at the Drop-in Centres possible each week and numerous others regularly host additional meals and events.
Aside from assisting people who find themselves in the unfortunate situation of being on the street, hungry or lonely, we also provide the following supports:
- S.A.F.E. House Program - Developing safe and affordable housing for people in transition.We currently operate two rooming houses with a total of 14 beds and hope to expand our capacity.
- Chaplaincy and outreach to parolees
- Rural Food Delivery Program To Families in Crisis
- Apartment Locating / transitional & permanent residence
- Furniture Bank - Collection, storage and delivery of donated furniture
- Breakfasts & Suppers Program - Four meals are provided each week and a full breakfast is available six days each week amounting to about 30,000 meals being provided each year in Kentville alone.
We are in the process of exploring affordable housing units (to compliment our current transitional housing residences) where adequate and affordable long term housing could be provided for lower income people who are actively seeking help to move forward in their lives. Our long term vision also includes establishing a retreat centre where people from all walks of life can go for retreat, rest and healing. We appreciate your support.
To contact us, please call Open Arms (365-3665 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org)
For more information and updates, check us out on online: www.openarms.ca / www.facebook.com/OpenArms.ca