Oilers Captain Andrew Ference has been a true leader in the community this holiday season, initiating the purchase and delivery of over 150 presents to the Stollery Children’s Hospital, heading up the Inner City High School Luncheon with the team and bringing cheer to those who needed it most during annual hospital visits.
In the spirit of the holidays, Ference and his family have once again stepped up to recognize an Edmonton charity in need, making a personal donation of $1 per seat at Rexall Place to Hope Mission.
"My family and I are very fortunate to be from a city that cares so much about the community,” said Ference. “Especially at this time of year, we want to do everything we can to spread the holiday spirit, and we truly believe in the work the Hope Mission is doing."
“Hope Mission provides crisis services for those who are homeless or at risk of being homeless in this city, and that’s providing both meal services during the day - breakfast, lunch and dinner - and overnight shelter for those who are in need of a safe place to sleep,” said Robert Croswell, Hope Mission Spokesman. “That’s about 600 people a night, every night that are taken care of by Hope Mission.”
In addition to food and shelter, Hope Mission provides prevention services for youth, making sure the next generation of children who are at risk of being homeless don’t end up in their food lines and shelters down the road. They also provide addiction counselling and housing services, something that former Hope Mission client Stuart Young attributes to saving his life.
“Two years ago at this time, I was on the streets,” said Young, who has now been sober for two years and is working as a casual intake worker at Hope Mission. “I went through the breakout program they have here, which not only saved my life, it saved my soul.”
Now living in one of Hope Mission’s transitional housing units, Young has been able to use his own experiences to help those that are living similar lifestyles as he was two years ago.
“Since I know so many people on the street, they actually come to me because they know me from the street, and you build a bit of a rapport with them. It takes a while for them to trust you and once they get to trust you, you can do an awful lot with them.”
While Young is able to give back by donating his time and expertise, fans at Saturday night’s game against the Blues can join Oilers Captain Andrew Ference in giving back with a small donation to the Hope Mission. Fans are encouraged to text the word “HOPE” (4673) to 80100 to make a $10 donation to those that need it most this holiday season.
“To all the fans who are hearing this message, please give, please give generously,” said Croswell. “It provides much needed care to those who are in need and it really turns people’s lives around.
“This is where lives are being changed every single day in this city. I want to thank Andrew Ference and his family so much and the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation for shining light on this cause.”