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CHRISTIAN LIFE IN LONDON | SPRING 2024 EDITION
Ark Aid Mission Settles into Temporary New Home
CURRENT COMMUNITY STORIES
Pulled Out of the Rabbit Hole
Meet the Conspiracy Theorists Who are Turning to Christ
London Pregnancy & Family Support Centre is Doing Something Different And You’re Invited to Join In
Change Is Hard to Do!
Three Ways to Handle Change
BookMark - One Wrong Move (BOOK REVIEW)
Reel Review - Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes (MOVIE REVIEW)
“Take Me For A Spin”
The Top 20 Christian Music Albums for Spring 2024
Why Does Servant Leadership Matter So Much?
Hospital Data Shows Longer, Costlier Stays for Patients Experiencing Homelessness
Reflections on Aurora Borealis and the Solar Eclipse


By Marilynn Vanderstaay



I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me a drink; I was a stranger and you received me in your homes, naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you took care of me, in prison and you visited me. Matthew 25:35-45

The Ark Aid Mission drop-in service, formerly 696 Dundas Street, recently received the good news its new temporary home at First Baptist Church, 568 Richmond Street has been zoned acceptable to the city of London and is now once again serving the downtown community after a few months of apprehension.

The move was necessary following a deliberately set fire that destroyed Ark Aid Street Mission Dundas Street location in May this year. A 45-year-old from London is charged with two counts of arson causing damage to property and arson disregard for human life.

This wasn’t the first time the drop-in centre had been challenged with zoning issues. In 1983 members of the community, under the auspices of a Youth for Christ committee to start a downtown drop in centre coffee house, had spent much time developing a concept and a location that would meet both the physical and spiritual needs of the London displaced, and dispossessed while being dedicated to helping would also meet the criteria of the city’s zoning requirements, which even then could be challenging.

That was until rogue committee member Tom Reid stormed the biweekly meeting and declared the committee could stop its search for a location. The burly 28-year-old former biker, frustrated with the seemingly endless municipal bureaucracy and ineffective meetings, had signed the lease on the property at 696 Dundas Street and was going to develop the Ark Aid Mission to meet the very real needs of downtown London’s displaced and dispossessed… the poor and the lonely. It would be set up to help anyone in their time of need regardless of finances, class, colour, race or creed.

This year, 38 years after officially opening and meeting so many needs, Ark Aid met some very real challenges that forced them out of its location and dealing once again with municipal zoning by laws. An arson set fire in the spring forced the centre out of the building while renovations could be completed.

Unhappy with being shut down with winter coming, Sara Campbell, director of Ark Aid met with Alan Roberts, pastor of the First Baptist Church, 568 Richmond who welcomed the entire Ark Mission services into its downtown facilities.

Several months later the Ark met again zoning challenges when the location at the church didn’t meet municipal by laws and in October Ark Aid was once again shut down and forced underground. Both First Baptist and the Ark sent letters to the city pleading the case that included complaints. The church and the Ark dealt proactively with the complaints, the city heard them and last month both Campbell and Roberts were happy to learn God had also heard and the Ark can stay at the church operating and perhaps making a difference in the more upscale neighbourhood.

Just in time for winter, Ark Aid is back to its full services including offering some new ones. Using half First Baptist facilities the Ark is operating seven days a week from 10 am to 8 pm. And again, has specific donation requests to meet the particular needs of its services.

Ark Aid offers three basic services. Food, clothing and social opportunities. Weekday afternoon snacks are offered Monday to Friday: 1 pm to 2:30 pm. Social programs are offered every day from 2:30 to 4 p.m. followed by free dinner every day from 5:30 pm- 6:30 pm. Donations of food, fresh… not too expired… and packaged do not go to waste.

The church has laundry facilities so clients can wash and dry their clothes particularly their socks. Donations of laundry detergents and always socks are always appreciated.

Once a day clients can stop in to pick up a new clean set of clothes. Donations of clothing, particularly smallsized are an ongoing need. As are warm winter clothing, coats and boots, gloves and hats… pretty much anything you have in your closet.

Donations can be dropped off 9 am to 6 pm Monday to Friday, 5 pm-7 pm Saturday, Sunday. Donors are asked to message 519) 667-0322 if possible before arriving.

“But that’s just some of what we offer with the support that comes from the community We’re more than a soup kitchen,” Campbell said. “During the pandemic, our programs and services expanded exponentially. We have shower and laundry program outreach and advocacy. And of course, we started the winter response trailers with the city last winter this year and that evolved into a graduated housing program called Wish to be Home. Work is in process to start 12 transitional housing units.

Although Ark Aid’s website is sill down it can still receive e-transfers at donate@arkaidmission.ca Add contact info for a receipt.

Campbell said that renovations of the Dundas Street building should be complete by March 2023 and will include 12 transitional housing rooms along with available space for additional services.

For more information email info@arkaidmission.com

The Ark Aid Mission of London is a non-profit organization working to help those struggling within the community by offering a variety of programs and services.

“We’re more than a soup kitchen,” Campbell said. “During the pandemic, our programs and services expanded exponentially. We have shower and laundry program outreach and advocacy. And of course, we started the winter response trailers with the city last winter this year and that evolved into a graduated housing program called Wish to be Home. But that’s just some of what we offer with the support that comes from the community.”

About the author; Marilynn Vanderstaay
Marilynn is a deep-rooted Christian whose life as a Believer since she was just three is intertwined with everything she puts her hands to professionally and personally.

A community investment specialist, she is a journalist and columnist who writes for community, local and national publications celebrating life and successes, yet when necessary, exposing the not so nice. Her columns and e-zines are read and enjoyed.

She is a soft skills trainer/inspirational speaker. A fabric artisan whose works hang in a gallery in Old Montreal and are published in a coffee table book.

And she is an impresario who organizes faith, friends, food, and fun events. And yes, she is a five-time life threatening cancer overcomer, healed by Jesus to declare the illustrious acts of the Lord. Psalm 118:17