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Our friend Elwood Shreve came out again to see what ROCK is up to.  Read about our partnership with the CMHA in Chatham-Kent.

Look what a bunch of grade 9 kids can do!  

Students from UCC grade 9 religion class worked on a Service Learning Project. The student led initiative took what they had learned in class about being a disciple of Christ and put it into action. They decide on a cause and figured out how they could help. The students decided to do a Homeless Awareness Week at UCC. They challenged each grade level to bring in certain items and the class that brought in the most items won a pizza lunch which the gr 9s paid for. Throughout the homeless awareness week the gr 9 students did announcements about the facts of homelessness in chatham Kent, put up posters around the school and created digital slides for our broadcast system.

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To see the full story, click this link:

Today I want to tell you about a location we helped clean up in our community. Without giving you the specific spot, know that this is somewhere that some of our friends are currently ‘rough sleeping’. We visit this location twice a week during outreach, and often times in-between to check on some of our more vulnerable friends, or to drop off additional supplies. This is in OUR community, Chatham-Kent. These are the people whom have ‘fallen through the cracks’, most of them with drug addictions and mental health concerns. This is the core purpose of ROCK – to find these people, reach out to connect, and give them some hope.

As we continue through today's blog, I’ll show you some pictures of our clean up adventure. Why did we go clean up their mess, you ask? Well, because they tried. They made a huge pile of garbage bags full of debris, but had nowhere to take it to. Anything left out is torn apart by critters, and it’s unsanitary.




They also don’t always have, or use, proper disposal containers for their needles. Yes, needles. We picked up a lot. (Statistic – as of this week we have retrieved and safely disposed of over 44,700 needles from ALL of our locations in the year we have been in operation. We use harm reduction and safe needle exchange for the locations we visit that have friends who use. That is over 40 thousand needles that we ensured were not left out or disposed of in our community in a non-safe manner. Ultimately, if we could get ALL our friends help, this would become a non-issue – can you imagine not having that kind of worry in our community anymore?) The yellow containers in the picture below are sharps containers - we brought a bunch and left with a bunch more that we've been leaving regularly.

So, the purpose of showing you these pics isn’t to toot our own horn, we want to engage you. We want to have conversations with ALL of you, and your family, and your friends, and everyone in this community about making Chatham-Kent a place where everyone is looked after. Where our impoverished friends who have issues with drugs and mental health are looked after as readily as any other citizen. Where we worry more about the people living in those tents and NOT the appearance and the politics of tent cities. We have to put supports under these people, who literally have nothing, and raise them up instead of hiding them, or refusing to see them.

Ultimately, I’m here to invoke your empathy. Pictures help us give you an idea of how they’re living, and my words are here to tell you that they are in YOUR community. The same community that was celebrating a miracle two months ago by gathering so much food that we didn’t know where to put it all. Look at those pictures, imagine living there. Think it’s just like camping? Try camping without water, or access to a toilet, or shower, with no cooler full of food (definitely no cold beer) and no option to drive home when you get rained out or the mosquitoes are eating you alive. Or cause it’s just to damned hot. This is where our friends are, who we need to reach.

If you’ve made it this far, thank you for listening to my ramblings. Please, if it inspires you to want to help, please reach out. We are always on the look out for volunteers. If you want to help us financially, we accept donations, cash (cheque or e-transfer). We always, always need your support.

Much love and care from us all!

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<-- This is him. And he wrote this amazing letter to share with anyone we could find to read it. It's written from the heart, and we love him for sharing his feelings about what we do.

Here it is:

Al, Candy and myself, Jeff Parker, had big dreams when they started Reach Out Chatham-Kent: R.O.C.K. Missions – but apparently these dreams were not just ours alone. We now have a great team, Al McGuigan, Renee Geniole, Mike & his wife, Rock, Tony & Deb, Colleen & Tom, there are so many names or amazing volunteers that I just can’t write them all in -but they are all angels. They are the angels on the front-Line giving 100% of their free time! I Love you all at R.O.C.K. Missions because you all matter. On August 14 2020, we will be arriving at our 1-year anniversary. Reach Out Chatham-Kent: R.O.C.K. Missions started out humbly by handing out 14 lunches to our friends on the street. Fast forward to June 1, 2020 and we are handing out well over 270 lunches on Tuesdays and Saturdays - that’s each day! Our original goal was for Reach Out Chatham-Kent: R.O.C.K. Missions to hand out 6,000 lunches for our first year. At the time, we saw that as a lofty goal but as of June 12, 2020 we have provided 12,040 lunches! We all at R.O.C.K. Missions provide hygiene products, food, basic needs, food baskets and Narcan kits. So please, if you need help, we are here for you, just call. With our deliveries, we are getting these supplies into the hands of people who need it. We get people calling R.O.C.K. Missions for groceries, and for various asks for help; and yes, we are there for them. Why? Because they matter! There are so many we would love to thank for all your support and for everything you do to help our mission. May God Bless You all. Chatham-Kent has once again has shown its true colours! As one of the co-founders of Reach Out Chatham-Kent: R.O.C.K. Missions, I would like to thank United Way for making our dream, at R.O.C.K. Missions come to life. We cannot Thank Unite Way enough for helping us build bridges to our goals. Bridges such as providing affordable office/storage and connecting us with people who are able to help with our dream. God bless United Way! Thank you to all who helped with the May 16 Miracle event. There are so many good people in Chatham-Kent and without you our dream could not come true. I love the city of Chatham and the way People get together when we need a miracle. Chatham-Kent, you stepped up to the plate and hit a home run! A big thank you to Maple City Homes Ltd. For their generous out pouring of love and support, a big thank you to Steve Pratt CEO of United Way of Chatham-Kent, and a big thank you to Ross Stennett of Chatham for his Help and love to R.O.C.K. Missions. Like I said, we here at R.O.C.K. Missions have the greatest volunteer team and would like to thank them. Without you R.O.C.K. Missions would not be alive! Thank you to all who gave money, food and time; please keep our dream at R.O.C.K. Missions stay alive; we are always looking for connections with groups or organizations (small to large). Thank you all for helping our friends in our community. PS I am crying now because Chatham-Kent has made it possible for our dreams come true! Never before have we experienced such an awareness of hope and light in God’s presence, I am speechless. Thanks for our dream coming true -together we will win. Thank you very much, Yours truly Jeff Parker, One of the two co-founders of Reach Out Chatham-Kent: R.O.C.K. Missions

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