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

Justin Kripps of Summerland and his team have competed in Olympic action and World Cup competitions in bobsleigh. (Jason Ransom-Canadian Olympic Comittee).
QUIZ: Are you ready for some winter sports?

It’s cold outside, but there are plenty of recreation opportunities in the winter months

Half of the most expensive homes are on 2080 Mackenzie Crt, which is across the street from Revelstoke Mountain Resort. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
The 10 most valuable homes in Revelstoke for 2020

Combined, the properties are worth more than $35M

A map released by the BCCDC on Jan. 15 shows the number of new COVID-19 cases reported for each local health area between Jan. 3 and 9. (BCCDC Image)
Salmon Arm and Vernon see increase in new COVID cases, curve flattening elsewhere

The rate of new cases is levelling off in Kelowna, Penticton and Revelstoke.

Snowboarders at Revelstoke Mountain Resort heading for the gondola. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Updated: Another 16 COVID-19 cases for Revelstoke

The cases were identified between Jan. 3 and 9

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

The organizer of a Kelowna protest against COVID-19 restrictions was fined by the RCMP for the third time Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19: Organizer of Kelowna anti-restriction protest ticketed for third time

The individual’s latest ticket for $2,300 was handed out by RCMP at an anti-lockdown rally Saturday

Mount Boucherie Secondary School is one of three Kelowna schools with confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to an update from the school district Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19 confirmed at 3 Kelowna schools

Interior Health has confirmed exposures at Mount Boucherie, Springvalley and South Rutland schools

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Lake Country native Evan-Riley Brown is in the cast for the new film Journey To Royal: A WW II Rescue Mission to be released on video on demand and streaming services on Feb. 2. (Contributed)
Okanagan actor lands role in WW II movie

Evan-Riley Brown, from Lake Country, cast in production labelled as hybrid of a feature film and documentary called Journey To Royal: a WW II Rescue Mission.

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
More than 20 days have passed since the last case of COVID-19 was confirmed at Lakeside Manor. (File photo)
Salmon Arm retirement facility reopens social areas after COVID-19

More than 20 days have passed since last confirmed case at Lakeside Manor

Most Read