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SMART Connections: Homeless Outreach Packages

For many of us, socks, gloves, hand warmers, and instant coffee may seem like trivial items, but for those in need, they can make a world of difference.

That’s why the staff of SMART Connections has distributed Homeless Outreach Packages of those same items since early fall.

Led by Chris Peace and AJ Wheaton, The Homeless Outreach Package is a unique project started by SMART Connections to fill gaps in the homeless crisis in Cranbrook.

Some of those we work with are people who find themselves in a tough spot and have lost access to housing,” says Pearce, SMART Connections Manager. “With each package, we’re not only providing necessities to the unhoused population but also giving hope and reassurance that someone cares.

The humble yet noble initiative began simply by collecting bottles and cans. Soon they were able to raise $750 for this initiative, but as the winter weather worsens, their need for donations grows. Now, they’re reaching out to the community for help.

There are so many ways that you can help,” says AJ Wheaton, Community Connector, with SMART Connections. “Anything you can donate, from a gift card to bottles and cans to even bags of winter clothes, would be so appreciated.

We can all do something small to make a big difference as a community.

SMART Connections is a program that provides free, safe, dignified, and compassionate support to individuals with complex needs and higher-functioning disabilities. Each morning, the program offers breakfast and supports individuals by providing access to a shower, kitchen, pantry, and laundry. But it’s not just staff contributing. Supported individuals are also giving back. Some supported individuals help 3 days a week, giving them a sense of pride to be able to give back.

We have supported individuals who volunteer by picking up and sorting food,” says Pearce.  “It’s a wonderful thing watching them thrive and flourish through volunteering.  You can see first hand how their efforts are re-establishes their sense of purpose.

SMART Connections is a program of NEXUS Community Support Society and funded by CLBC

Smart Connections is located in the basement of NEXUS Community Support Society’s head office at
39 13 Ave S, Cranbrook (by Safeway).

Hours of operation are 8am-6pm (Mon) and from 8am to 8pm (Tue – Sat).

The SMART Connections staff pic:
(L to R) Rebecca Brunner, AJ Wheaton, Calex Ritson, Chris Pearce, and Natalie Harder