Who is NightShift? How did they come into existence?

Like I mentioned in my previous post, NightShift serves the vulnerable, addicted, and homeless people of Surrey 365 days a year. They serve them with soup, sandwiches, love, and a sense of belonging. It is a registered not-for-profit society with a small staff of under 10 people and a mighty volunteer system containing more than 2,500 people. Their offices are located in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Surrey on King George Boulevard, very close to the skytrain. Serving each night takes place right outside their offices. NightShift offers meals, clothing, crisis counselling, basic nursing, a mobile library, prayer, and loving community contact. Additionally, they offer support groups, extreme weather response, Bible studies, and counselling.

Who is the mind behind NightShift? What is the story behind the name?

MaryAnne Connor, a former successful real estate marketer, was struck with compassion for those on the street on one particularly cold winter night in 2004. She soon joined a Surrey church in handing out peanut butter sandwiches and blankets in the middle of the night, providing as much warmth as they could to those without shelter who are faced with fiercely cold nights every winter.

Closely following Connor’s experience handing out peanut butter sandwiches and blankets, she boldly created NightShift. The name of the organization is significant because it refers to the time when emergency response is needed most. On a deeper leve, it describes the shift that happens in humans as we give our resources in service to those who need it in our community – the vulnerable, the addicted, and the homeless. We gain a new compassion for people we did not previously truly see.

What is my place in NightShift?

Currently, I am in the process of becoming a volunteer at NightShift. This process includes an intense 4 day training shift which consists of stories from people who have served at NightShift, and training about addiction, homelessness, and mental health. This training takes place in November, however, NightShift let me come for a pre-training night where I could see if volunteering with them was something I was passionate about. My pre-training night experience will be on the blog next week!

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