RYAN’S HOPE WAS STARTED BY A COUPLE IN MEMORY OF THEIR SON WHO DIED OF A DRUG OVERDOSE
Courtesy of Barrie 360, Ian MacLennanPublished: Feb 19th, 2023
The founders of Ryan’s Hope are holding out hope that someone in the community has enough storage space they can use. Co-founder and director Christine Nayler says she and her husband have been told that the free space they have had as their “headquarters” since Ryan’s Hope began will end on Mar. 31.
The breakfast program was created by Nayler and her husband Tom in memory of their son Ryan who died from a drug overdose in Nov. 2020 at age 34. Ryan was a university graduate, with both a bachelor and master’s degree, and he was also a “gifted writer and musician,” according to the organization’s website.
“Ryan lived with mental illness, and he self-medicated with street drugs, and unfortunately we lost him to toxic drug poisoning,” explains Nayler. “We started Ryan’s Hope in his memory, and our mission is to advocate and support people living with mental illness, substance issues and experiencing homelessness.”
She says those three issues are interconnected.
“It’s really hard to address one of those without addressing them all.”
For the first time since Ryan’s Hope began two years ago, the breakfast program now operates indoors at Trinity Anglican Church three days a week on Friday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.
The “headquarters” is at another location downtown and is used to store food for the breakfast program as well as outreach supplies for the homeless such as tents, blankets, clothing, boots and toiletries.
Rent-free space downtown would be ideal, says Nayler, possibly with a kitchen, and if a kitchen is not available, then space to plug in a fridge and freezer.
Ryan’s Hope has two storage units, but that eats up to $600 a month.
The organization is community funded with no government support and is backed by a team of volunteers.
That doesn’t mean they aren’t on the radar of various levels of government.
Nayler and her husband advocate tirelessly in memory of their son and those like him, pulling on the strings of government to do more.
“As a society, and definitely as politicians, a price tag is put on human lives and some lives are valued as less and not worthy of investing in, and I think that is truly the case for people living with mental illness, substance issues and experiencing homelessness.”
More information: https://www.ryanshopebarrie.ca/
- Recognizing National Day For Truth And Reconciliation: A Day To Listen - September 30, 2023
- Food Bank Use Soars In Barrie As Thanksgiving Food Drive In Full Swing Swing - September 30, 2023
- Ongoing Bottle Drive To Support Homeless Individuals: John Howard Society - September 30, 2023