By Justin Seward
The Medicine Hat Mustard Seed opened in October 2019 and offers various programming for people in need of place to get back on their feet.
A daily meal program is offered seven days a week from 8 to 10 a.m.
“We take care of those homeless, vulnerable (and) those that are just struggling—they’re broken,” said Colette Eirich, managing director for Mustard Seed Medicine Hat.
“And on average we see probably 60 to 85 a day. When you have cold snaps like currently, you know the numbers, I’m going to say they dictate and they don’t. Alot depends on where people are at and we definitely don’t have any judgement by any means. So when they come to embrace us at the door, you know you live on them and welcome them in and feed them at times when it’s cold like this.”
The Mustard Seed will increase handing out more as mitts, toques, scarves, warm jackets and boots during the winter months.
“Not all our people live rough—some are coming because they need that community, someone to talk to,” said Eirich.
“We have a variety of guests that come with a variety of needs.”
A weekly laundry program is also offered for clients.
“It’s been amazing, the program is going really well,” she said.
“They make an appointment and they come and wash their clothes and one of our staff sits with them has a conversation, maybe plays some games. Just something to keep them going while the laundry is doing its thing,” she said.
The health and wellness centre opened up Oct. 1, 2021 and offers numerous opportunities for advocacy out in the community and help clients obtain their identification.
“We just got the nurses started here in December,” she said.
“So, the nursing from Alberta Health Services come and help them once a week with wound care, maybe prescriptions, things that they may need if they need doctor assistance.”
Depending on the day, the Mustard Seed has served between 105 to 120 clients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We did some extra measures with that,” she said.
“Because you know people were shut in and the pandemic kind of had different phases. So now we’re basically back to, no you come in person and there’s no take out, you do a full meal.”
The Mustard Seed established a neighbourhood care package program every Thursday during the pandemic—where it started with six households and now are capped at 50.
“We basically make two frozen homemade meals and make it into a care package and we have volunteer drivers who go and deliver these to those households in need,” she said.
The organization would like to thank their donors who believed in their mission and supported them amid the pandemic.
“Our services are open to anybody,” she said.
“So, at times if there’s no address, a lot of times we’re not sure where they’re coming from. We support anyone.”
Starting in the New Year, the hope is to have a weekly hair-cutting program, employment opportunities and bringing in a mental health counselor and occupational health therapist.
More information can be found at theseed.ca on programs, on how to donate and volunteering.