Aaron’s Journey assists homeless and at-risk youth

Each year in December, Central United Church’s Aaron’s Journey program distributes some 400 backpacks to people who are homeless and also to at-risk youth. Aaron’s Journey was initiated and is organised by AnnaMay and Clayton LaPointe, long-time attendees of Central, in memory of their 23-year-old son who lost his life to addiction. It also involves many volunteers.
While the program culminates each December, making the backpacks possible is work that starts much earlier in the year. In August a Charity Golf Tournament and Steak Dinner is held in Sundre to raise money to purchase items for the backpacks. Hand-knitted scarves and toques are made by volunteers. Backpack items also can include socks, gloves, notebooks, puzzle books, pens, toiletries such as toothbrush, etc, and a New Testament.
In late November all of the goods are brought to Central and a group of 40 church volunteers stuff the backpacks. The task takes about 90 minutes in assembly-line precision. In mid-December, the 400 bags are distributed to addiction counselling agencies including Alcove (women), Oxford House, Fresh Start, Sunrise. About 40% remain to be distributed by volunteers who walk through the downtown streets, between Central United Church and the Drop-in Centre, personally handing out the bags. Any remaining are then left at the Drop-In Centre for Distribution.
Interested in more information? Contact Bill Moore at Central United Church, Calgary.