The Vernon-based All Are Family Outreach Society, which provides support to those struggling from Armstrong to Kelowna, is in need of a new headquarters after leaving a Winfield church in June 2020. (All Are Family Outreach photo)

The Vernon-based All Are Family Outreach Society, which provides support to those struggling from Armstrong to Kelowna, is in need of a new headquarters after leaving a Winfield church in June 2020. (All Are Family Outreach photo)

Okanagan outreach society in need of new home

Vernon-based All Are Family Outreach has been without a home base since June

An Okanagan outreach society has been without a home for more than seven months, and is hoping to find a property owner or organization willing to become a part of the family.

Founded by Vernon residents Clary Lausnes and her husband in 2014, the All Our Family Outreach Society operates from Armstrong to Kelowna to help people struggling get by in whatever way they can. The volunteers have even reached out as far as Surrey and Edmonton.

“We’re very bad at saying no,” Lausnes said.

Not wanting to turn anyone away, the group now needs a new home to continue its efforts in full force in a time of great need.

Lausnes and her husband’s outreach work in Vernon predates All Are Family by about 30 years. The two would take their motorcycle out in the summer, loaded up with socks and sandwiches, and hand out goods to the street people. Eventually they started getting donations and their need for storage grew, which led them to the back room of the Winfield Seventh Day Adventist Church.

Lausnes recalls a moment at the local Bank of Montreal that wound up being a major turning point.

READ MORE: Tiny home stolen off property near Lower Mainland found 1 week later in Lillooet

READ MORE: Card from person experiencing homelessness brings Penticton woman to tears

“There was a young lady and her boyfriend, she was two months pregnant and they were sleeping in the foyer of the bank in the middle of winter, and they were both addicted to heroin, and he had his shirt off and he was doing the heroin scratch,” she said. “We took them under our wing.”

The woman had a healthy baby girl, Lausnes said, but her boyfriend died in Polson Park some time later.

“We kind of went, there’s so many people who need help but we can’t do it by ourselves. So after that we kind of decided to form an outreach so we could help more people.”

All Are Family has been without a home base since June. As a result they’ve been relegated to a food hamper service — a service in high demand during the pandemic but a far cry from the more holistic outreach they aspire to.

“I don’t think people understand how broad of a spectrum we deal with,” Lausnes said of the volunteers who have hosted first aid classes, performed suicide watches and responded to child abuse calls over the years.

There are also plans to offer classes to teach people how to sustain themselves: at the top of Lausnes’s list is a canning class. Others potential classes include sewing, gardening and moccasin-making.

“We would like to teach people how to help themselves, rather than just say ‘here’s food, come back in two weeks,’” she said.

“The only thing we don’t do is we don’t rent houses, and that’s just because we don’t have any,” added Lausnes, whose own house is currently packed with donated items that have nowhere else to stay.

All Are Family is looking for a place anywhere from Armstrong to Lake Country. Their old arrangement saw them based in the back of the Adventist Church, where folks could come in and help themselves to fresh produce, canned goods, shoes, blankets, or simply stop by for some emotional support and company.

Since departing from that arrangement after some changes at the church, they’ve been working out of unheated shipping containers putting together hampers.

“It just doesn’t work, and we have to turn away so many donations because we used to have a sea can full of clothing that people could just come to and help themselves, and without a base we can’t do that anymore,” Lausnes said. “We’ve really been struggling since August.”

The group doesn’t expect to be given a free building and will help cover a portion of the building costs, but paying upwards of $1,500 per month for rent plus utilities and insurance isn’t within their budget.

Any functionable space will do, and the group welcomes the idea of once again working out of a church, provided there are no stipulations that folks visiting must be of a certain faith, or must go through a religious seminar in order to access support.

“We are not going to tell someone what they should believe and what they should eat. That’s not our position,” Lausnes said. “Our position is just to help people.”

To get in touch, visit All Are Family Outreach Society’s Facebook page.

READ MORE: Outpouring of volunteerism gets Vernon charity ready for new year

READ MORE: Mixed feelings among Vernon pastors as COVID-19 restrictions curb religious services

signature

Charity and Donations

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A sign indicating a COVID-19 testing site is displayed inside a parking garage in West Nyack, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. The site was only open to students and staff of Rockland County schools in an effort to test enough people to keep the schools open for in-person learning. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
4 more deaths, 54 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

This brings the total to 66 deaths in the region

Oliver Elementary School
Former Oliver PAC treasurer charged with fraud returns to court

Belinda Yorke will be in court to fix a date for trial in February

Kamala Harris is sworn in as vice president by U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor as her husband Doug Emhoff looks on at the inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Alex Wong/Getty Images/TNS)
EDITORIAL: Uneasy elements must be faced head-on

Electoral tensions in the United States could happen in Canada as well

(Pixabay)
‘Roadmap out of COVID-19’: Innovate BC’s program helping businesses recover

CEO Raghwa Gopal said the tech sector is here to help brick and mortar businesses

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

Kevin Lee Barrett pleaded guilty to the aggravated assault of his mother Eleanor Holmes on Tuesday, Jan. 26. (File)
West Kelowna man who beat his mom could be sentenced up to 9 years

Kevin Barrett entered a surprise guilty plea to the lesser charge of aggravated assault on Tuesday morning

Interior Health reported two more COVID-19 deaths at Sunnybank Retirement Center in Oliver Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19 claims lives of two more South Okanagan care home residents

Five residents of the Oliver care home have died since the outbreak was first declared

Vernon now has an approved 13 cannabis shops in town. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Vernon, the ‘Pot capital of B.C.’ greenlights two new stores downtown

Two more shops, within 240 metres, approved, despite neighbouring businesses opposition

11 more cases of COVID-19 have been linked to a cluster on Big White Mountain. Pictured above is TELUS park at Big White Ski Resort, Jan. 26. (Big White Ski Resort)
11 more cases of COVID-19 linked to Big White cluster

This brings the total case count to 225, according to health authorities in a Tuesday update

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

Two fibreglass bees were stolen from Vernon’s Planet Bee Honey Farm Nov. 22, 2020. (Facebook)
Stolen bee returned to Vernon honey farm

Two months after thieves buzzed off with two bee sculptures, public tips led police one of them

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Most Read