GeoCities closing – the original Mission_log site moves here to WordPress

Sad but true, Geocities is closing –

I created one of my first websites there – called it the Mission_log, it was located at http://ca.geocities.com/mission_log/ (it’s still there until Yahoo! pulls the plug on all the sites later this summer) I’ve been referring web visitors here to the new WordPress Mission Log since September of 2007, but back in the day that little GeoCities site really helped get the news out about the homeless and my work with Project417.

The older logo of mission_log project417

One of the logos of mission_log project417

What was Geocities? How soon they forget.  Geocities grew out of a small internet start-up called BHI – Beverly Hills Internet back in 1994, changed names to the current one in 1995 and quickly grew to one of the busiest sites on the web, by 1999 it was the 3rd most visited website behind AOL and Yahoo!  Before the dotcom bubble burst, Yahoo purchased Geocities for billions, but it never reached its former popularity as Yahoo!Geocities (which was where I joined in) It had grown to popularity by offering ordinary users a free place to host their personal website – and offered a strong array of tools to help design the sites. Yahoo added to those – but as you can see if you visit the old site, the pages always managed to look a little clunky, and to get any kind of custom look I had to try my hand at raw HTML editing, which can be daunting. But it was a learning experience, and I found several open source WYSIWYG applications like NVu to help edit the html.

The first missionlog logo

The first missionlog logo

squeegee

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My first post there was in 2004 (actually, ported over from an earlier Sympatico home page, which continued to show up in search engine cached results for many years after it was taken down – the internet has ghosts).  It was when I first left my job at Meteor Telecommunications to work for Project417 fulltime helping the homeless in Toronto. I used it as a kind of newsletter (blogs were not so popular back then) to let folks know what was going on in my life, to appeal for donations to Project417, and to tell stories about the homeless people I met out on the streets of Toronto. Often the content matched the hardcopy newsletters I was producing on an old blue bondi  iMac computer (which I still have, disassembled in storage)

Using a work-around here on wordpress that actually is for future scheduling of posts, I can change the date field back to the original dates of the original mission_log articles – so I’ll be importing them and they’ll show up in the archives like Back to the Future…

The first is the Toronto Sun Letter of the Day from 2005.

To be continued…

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Project417 Online Newsletter – June 2009

StreetLife – Project417 – June 2009 Vol 6 Issue 8

Chuck - I'd rather die than be homeless another winter


Our friend Chuck – his portrait at the ROM exhibition June 2009

Dear Friends,

Thanks for reading the online version of the Project417 newsletter. This will give you the latest updates on Project417’s ongoing mission to the homeless. We’d like you to be able to read more, but frankly, without continuing financial support from great people just like you, Project417 is unable to provide additional web content for the newsletter at this time.

Our financial needs for support right now are critical. Without your donations Project417 will not be able to continue to provide essential services in 2009. These services include:

Sandwich Runs to the Homeless

– more than fifty thousand meals delivered to date
– on average, we deliver a nutritious bag luunch to around 500 homeless street people every month
– more than two thousand church and school volunteers visit Project417 every year to help
– your donations provide for expenses to traansport volunteers visiting the homeless, salaries for staff to provide volunteer safety and additional food, water, sleeping bags, and clothing during severe weather alerts

Project417 Urban Adventures

Short Term Missions – an urban, inner city experience – Project 417 has been hosting urban missions teams to the inner city in Toronto since the 1980’s but is now growing this ministry through Project417 Urban Adventures (UA). Urban Adventures will provide teams with the opportunity to come to Toronto and participate in a variety of urban outreach experiences. The goals of this program are to effectively serve the at-risk, low income communities we reach out to, to impact the worldviews and opinions of students toward a more Christ-like view of the urban reality. UA provides missions opportunities to Youth (and other group) leaders that will be easy to plan and allow them to experience the trip alongside youth – providing discipleship along the way. UA is a partnership with Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship.

Bloor Lansdowne Community Dinner

– A Partnership program with the Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship, a church that has been located here in Toronto since the 1930’s
– runs every Wednesday evening from 6PM to 8PM
– provides a free, home-cooked meal for anyone in the community. So far we are serving about sixty to one hundred guests including street homeless, residents of neighbouring shelters and transitional women’s housing, needy families and other local church neighbours
– Live musical entertainment every week
– volunteers are needed, and donations to purchase the fresh food every week, clothing bank donations are also accepted

The STEP Program Sex Trade Exit Program

STEP strives to help sexually exploited people in Toronto, Canada. The core of our work is to express the gospel in both word and deed and to engage in discipleship with our community. We do our best to address the suffering of those who are currently involved in prostitution and provide opportunities for change for those interested in exiting the sex trade. Project417 welcomes the addition of Tara McPherson, our newest faith-based missionary, to run the STEP program. For the past few months, in partnership with BLCF, STEP has run a late evening drop-in for women on Bloor Street every Thursday night from 9:30pm to 3:00am called Serenity Cafe.

Out of the Cold Program for Street Youth (November – April)

– established in the fall of 1996, by Rev. Joe Elkerton, in conjunction with Knox Presbyterian Church in Toronto, now known as Knox Youth Dinner & Foodbank
– this emergency shelter program was thhe first Out of the Cold program specially for street youth from 16 to 25 years of age
– currently the program has expanded to proovide meals, a food bank, clothing depot, service referrals, and counselling; overnight sleeping accomodation can no longer be provided
– serves more than one hundred youth every week
– several of Project417’s staff and volunteers are on site at Knox every week to provide mentoring to street youth, and assist Knox coordinate volunteers

Counselling Services

– Under the direction of Rev. Joe Elkerton, Project417 provides counselling services to the homeless
– clients include homeless men, women aand youth, street involved youth and at risk families living in poverty
– counselling includes healthy lifestyles reeinforcement, addiction counselling, anger management, and family counselling
– in addition Project417 staff have been trained and certified in Critical Incident Stress Management to be involved in emergency response services and disaster relief
– CISM components include: Group and Individual Crisis Interventions; Trauma & Addictions; Pastoral Crisis Intervention; School Crises

Street Outreach to the Homeless

– the staff and missionaries at Project417 conduct regular outreach to the homeless street population and at-risk inner city residents
– the Project417 model is not a traditional shelter based approach, rather it takes place out on the street where the homeless live
– the outreach comprises both individual one on one interaction and group settings
– in conjunction with the sandwich run ministry, it is the most relational of Project417’s programs
– outreach includes: social program referrals; crisis intervention; personal friendship evangelism; discipleship; fellowship; faith community referrals

Short Term Missions

Hurricane Disaster Recovery – Gulf Coast – Hurricane Katrina – Hurricane Ike

– In September, 2005, the first short term mission teams from Project417, visited New Orleans for one, two and three week terms
– fifty volunteers in seven teams have gone on Project417 short term missions to New Orleans, Louisiana and Galveston, Texas
– Andy and a team of fifteen volunteers from Georgia State University visited San Leon, Galveston County, Texas to help with Hurricane Ike relief in the renovation of a storm damaged home belonging to a Vietnamese – American family
– there is currently no funding available for the next short term mission, but plans are to visit the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans in 2009 and team with Habitat for Humanity and the Fuller Housing Institute
– On TV –  “The Old Man and the Storm, a PBS FrontLine documentary by June Cross describing the rebuilding efforts of Mr. Herbert Gettridge and his family in the Lower Ninth Ward, aided by volunteers (including Project417); the documentary aired Jan. 2009 and can be watched online at PBS

Thanks for reading this far. We hope you have a better understanding of the essential services Project417 provides to the homeless, both here in Toronto and where disaster strikes elswhere. We need to continue. We need your support. Over 500 street homeless and 6,000 shelter housed men and women benefit from Project417’s core ministries. Thousands in New Orleans and Texas are still waiting for their homes to be rebuilt.

A donation of $10 – $20 will help pay for our team leaders’ expenses to support the volunteers for one evening’s sandwich run. A donation of $50 will buy a Tim Horton’s coupon book and give a panhandler a meal instead of small change in his cup. $500 =  sandwich run van for one month. $1000 would pay for the travel of one short term mission team to New Orleans or fund two weeks of inner city street outreach. Partner with us today. Follow the links below to make your donation, online, or in the mail. Join with us to bring the love of Christ to those forgotten by society.
Sincerely,

Rev. Joe Elkerton
Executive Director
Ekklesia Inner City Ministries
Project417

Letter of the Day – Toronto Sun January 24 – 2005

The first missionlog logo

The Geocities Archives

LETTER OF THE DAY – A Mission_log archived article

From the Toronto Sun, Letters to the Editor, Mon, Jan. 24, 2005.

THE LETTERS on homelessness (Jan. 21) raise valid concerns. But they ignore the real improvements that have taken place over the last 10 yrs, back when the homeless were actually dying on the street for lack of shelter. It is correct to deliver food and sleeping bags because it is a reasonable humanitarian response to those in need. And it doesn’t cost taxpayers a penny. The food and clothing I personally deliver is all donated. No tax dollars spent, none wasted. City Hall is not being manipulated by special interest groups, rather the public is manipulated by the media who report only the sensational. They all claim that the homeless policies don’t represent the voice of the public, but what then of all the volunteers and corporate donors who support programs like Out of the Cold? Volunteers by far outnumber city staff.They are citizens with a right to be heard too. And the large amount of money donated to help the homeless shows that they are willing to put their money where their mouth is.

Andy C
(Sun Ed. note – We’re willing to bet that none of those donors want people to stay on the street — yet that’s the common result)

(Andy’s note – of course donors don’t want people on the street, but they’re human enough to let outreach workers show compassion and work at the street person’s pace instead of jailing the homeless as vagrants.)


Originally published on the ca.geocities.com/mission_log website, my online newsletter about homelessness back in the day – geocities is going offline later this summer and the articles will be archived here on wordpress.

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