Good People.

Last night we had the pleasure of sharing the evening with some of our volunteers and partners in the neighbourhood. We try to have an evening like this at least once a year, a Volunteer Appreciation Night, if you will. It is a chance for us to get together out of the context of a drop-in and spend time more quality time with the people that really lift us up and thank them for that.

Last night as we sat together at a local Parkdale institution, The Rhino, at a long table together in the back, it was such a joy and honour to look down the table and see our “people”. Of course we were missing some folks, as not everyone could make it. But we are so grateful for everyone, whether they came or not, and how they selflessly support us and our friends in the community with their time, love, and the gifts that they all uniquely bring.

There was such a mix of friends, from those who come on Monday and work hard in the kitchen making our large lunch, some German interns we have had with us for six months and can’t stand the thought of letting go, some folks from The Meeting House church who walk with us on outreach and organize events for us, some folks who have been around for years and some that are new, all sitting together and reminding us of how loved we are. We could not do anything at all without the support of these people, and so many others.

We chatted, ate together, sat around and shared our stories, got to know people better and caught up with old friends, and it was so magical. These are the moments that I wish we would do all the time, and that’s coming from an introvert! Just to look around at the table, without saying a word, I was filled in my spirit knowing that somehow God has brought us all together. We have some good, good people. And we really love them, just as I know they really love us. That’s the great thing about community work – it’s a lot of give and take. For that, I will always be so grateful.

If you would like to partner with me financially on my journey at the Dale, please email me at meagan.gillard@gmail.com. All my salary is fundraised with the help of generous supporters, and I am still looking to increase my hours from where I currently am at 16 per week. This can be done through cheque, PAR, or CanadaHelps.

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Park Tuesdays.

It is that time of year again…. well kinda. Some days of the week these days (even though its the middle end-ish of MAY!) it seems like it’s that time of year again where the weather warms up enough so that we can move our Tuesday drop-in outside to a park.

Tuesdays in the park are always a great time. Except that one time that Joanna was nailed from above with flying produce. But we won’t talk about that now! Besides the occasional eggs flailing through the sky, Tuesdays are usually filled with music floating through the park from our friends jamming on guitars practicing worship songs for Sunday, a couple dogs running around, people from the area walking by enjoying the music and stopping to snack on our chips, picnic tables filled with people or people sitting in circles on the grass, enjoying chips, grapes, juice, the sun, and the company.

I really like summer Tuesdays in the park. It’s a chance for all of us to have a break from the back of the Thrift Store where we normally reside, and get out into the open. I like that there is more space, that we never have to worry about there being enough chairs, that there are pups walking by and running around, and that people seem to be just a little more happy sitting in the sun drinking juice. I know I am !

It is a little precarious at this time of year to say we are always in the park, especially with the spring rain still upon us. There was a time when I first started at the Dale that it seemed like every Tuesday it was cloudy and rainy! But that rush of deciding whether or not to stay outside for drop-in, and ultimately saying yes to the park always gives me a rush.

Please pray that this summer provides lots of good memories in the park, that we will stay safe from flying vegetables (seriously… it happened), and that our friends who are always on the street who don’t have the option to go inside after a drop-in at the park will stay safe and get affordable housing soon. This city really needs it.

Peace to you as summer slowly comes… even though I am one to love the chilly days of winter, I can’t wait to see more of the sun!


If you would like to partner with me financially on my journey at the Dale, please email me at meagan.gillard@gmail.com. All my salary is fundraised with the help of generous supporters, and I am still looking to increase my hours from where I currently am at 16 per week. This can be done through cheque, PAR, or CanadaHelps.

Prayer and Second Harvest.

Every Sunday we get a delivery from an organization called Second Harvest, which is “Canada’s largest food rescue charity.” They rescue thousands upon thousands of pounds of unsold food before it hits the landfill and donate it for free to organizations like The Dale that serve meals to the community. Without Second Harvest we would be hard pressed to serve our largest community meal on Monday that feeds over 100 people. To give you an idea, we often receive potatoes, produce for salad, canned goods to give away, dairy to be used with coffee, meat to serve as a protein, and fruit to have on the side – just to put it quickly. Our volunteers then come together on Monday to put together an amazing meal for our friends. It is always healthy, homemade, and delicious.

As I was taking some meat out of our freezer on Sunday from Second Harvest to thaw for Monday, Ian (who was helping me) said something like, “Wow, you guys really run on prayer and Second Harvest” – “You guys” meaning The Dale. In a lot of ways, that sentiment is completely true. I mean, to be technical, we also run on plenty of volunteer work, many financial contributions, tons of community partnerships, and lots of coffee 🙂 I think what Ian meant was we really couldn’t do any of this without help.

Our situation is so unique. Without a building, we rely on the hospitality of many community locations where we hold our drop-in spaces. Without funding from the government, we rely on the financial contributions of so many people to help us run our programming. Without a large staff team, we rely on the hands of many volunteers to help us cook, run drop-ins, make events happen and many other things. Without Second Harvest, we wouldn’t have half the food we need on a Monday. And without God… well none of this would be happening. Or at least, it wouldn’t be happening well.

I’m not really sure what I’m trying to say in all this, really. When Ian said that one little thing on Sunday, it really struck me. We couldn’t do much of anything without the help of a lot of you reading this. So I guess I would like to say a heartfelt thank you… whether you pray for us, help us make a meal, encourage us in any way, participate in our community, or just check-in or think of us, you are a huge part of The Dale. Thank you so much.


It would mean so much to me if you were able to partner financially with The Dale to support my role within this ministry. There are a number of ways to do this, including CanadaHelps, PAR, or cheque. Please reach out to me if you would like more information on partnering with me in this way. Thanks for your support!

The Peace of Forgiveness.

I feel like a phoney writing this blog about forgiveness, to be honest. It is something I am not very good at and am still learning about everyday (every hour…). However, the word forgiveness has been following me around this week. It started as a stranger sitting awkwardly next to me on a park bench whom I was trying to avoid. Then it started following me around quite hard to ignore. It finally tapped me on the shoulder, like “Hey! I’m here! And I need you to pay attention.” So here I am, trying to pay attention.

I learn a lot of lessons from my community and friends at The Dale – that lesson most recently being forgiveness. Last week there was a potential for two of our community members to be in messy conflict. I was anxious, waiting for the worst, but praying for a miracle. And it happened. Long story short – on Sunday at church after working through the details of what they needed, they shook hands and forgave each other. It was a literally, “I forgive you” said out loud on both sides. Shortly after, another community member offered a peace offering to a friend he had a disagreement with earlier in the week. Two amazing miracles in the span of a few minutes.

Yesterday I helped facilitate our bible study. We always eat together before hand at St Francis Table for a dollar. I sat with some Dale friends and we ended up talking about marriage and how it can be really hard. We also talked about forgiveness and I admitted that it can be really hard for me to learn, especially in marriage. Then we went into bible study and read the end of John, when Jesus sees his disciples for the first time after His resurrection. We talked about how the disciples ran back to Jesus, and that he greeted them with Peace, even Simon Peter who had betrayed Jesus days earlier.

I was taking all of these things and thinking them over and praying about them in my heart. I was amazed at how forgiveness kept showing up this week, over and over again. Then I realized that God was teaching me a lesson about my own self. Being a wife can be really hard and being in a marriage takes a lot of strength and courage. It also takes sacrifice. As all couples do, Ian and I go through periods where we argue what feels like more often then not in a week. This is really exhausting, and I find myself wanting to be right, rather than to say sorry and forgive. One night this week after we had worked out a disagreement, I remember we actually said out loud to each other, “I forgive you,” and it felt like a weight was gone. That is the power of forgiveness.

I am still learning about this. I am still trying really hard to say sorry, even when I want to say that I’m right. And I am learning what it means to feel peace about forgiveness. It is really powerful, and I am grateful that God uses my friends at The Dale to teach me powerful lessons. May you know the power and peace of forgiveness this week, whether that be with your self or with someone else.


It would mean so much to me if you were able to partner financially with The Dale to support my role within this ministry. There are a number of ways to do this, including CanadaHelps, PAR, or cheque. Please reach out to me if you would like more information on partnering with me in this way. Thanks for your support!