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Royal City Mission says it will be forced to cut hours if it can’t meet fundraising goal

A year ago, Gregory Dorval was at the lowest point of his life, living on the streets of Guelph.

“For the first nine months of being homeless, I was living in the woods,” he explains.

Today, he’s a volunteer at the Royal City Mission – the charity that helped get him back on his feet.

But now, the very services that Dorval leaned on are at risk.

The Mission says it needs to raise $50,000 to $70,000 by mid-October or else it’ll have to cut back hours.

The organization, which feeds around 250 people per day, increased its operations from eight hours to 12 hours per day earlier this year to meet rising demand.

Executive Director Kevin Coghill says if they’re not able to secure the funding, they’ll have to drop back down to eight and cut one of their three daily meals, likely breakfast.

Coghill says if that happens, it will mean more people without a place to go during the day.

“I know that our community members are quite resourceful, a lot of them live outside and they know how to deal with the elements, but it’s not optimal.”

The Royal City Mission has seen a 31 per cent increase in people using its services this year. Staff and volunteers are currently serving around 1,700 meals a week.

“It’s the highest we’ve ever seen,” Coghill says.

According to Coghill there’s multiple factors fueling the rising demand, including the recent sale of the apartment building at 90 Carden St.

“That had 52 units, so there's a number of people now who are no longer housed so they're accessing more of our services.”

The organization feeds around 250 people per day in downtown Guelph. (Sijia Liu/CTV Kitchener)

Coghill says the funds are needed before winter arrives.

“We are concerned because the longer people are outside, the more issues we have and we've had a number of deaths lately so we're just worried about that.”

In the meantime, the mission is relying on volunteers like Dorval to keep up with demand.

“If I see someone who is not doing well, I check in on them,” Dorval explains. “I can't just sit back and rest.” Top Stories

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