Winter is well on its way, and soon, everyone will spend their days inside with thermostats and fireplaces to keep them warm even when the snow starts falling. Anyone brave enough to stay outside will be clad in suits of armor consisting of scarves, hats, mittens, heavy coats, and layer after layer of clothes. However, not everyone is fortunate enough to have a safe place to go at night or good clothes to keep them warm in the dead of winter. Where do people who find themselves in this situation go during the cold winter months–or any other time of year, for that matter?

If they’re in Victoria, then they can go to Our Place. The Our Place Society is an inner-city community center that aims to provide relief and care for the working poor, impoverished, elderly, mentally and physically challenged, homeless, and anyone struggling with addiction. It was created in 2005 as the result of an alliance between two existing community organizations, the Upper Room Society and the Open Door, and construction on the purpose-built community center that Our Place now calls home was completed in 2007.

Today, Our Place offers a wide range of services to anyone in need. It serves over 1,500 meals a day, seven days a week; it has 45 private rooms available so people can have a safe place to sleep at night while they work toward independent living; it offers free showers and hygiene services; there are even mental, physical, and spiritual well-being options, veterinary services, educational resources, community activities like a choir, and so much more. These services offer more than just a warm meal or a bed–they offer hope to the people who need it most.

Volunteering with Our Place is a great way to help marginalized citizens of Victoria get back on their feet. It’s so rewarding to see firsthand how your work helps to elevate someone’s life, and Our Place gives you that opportunity. My own experience at Our Place involved helping to serve some of those 1500 meals a day at breakfast time. The experience showed how easy it was to help people who would normally go hungry. Working with Our Place illustrates that sometimes, the opportunity to make a big difference can be found very close to home.

For more information about Our Place, visit its website!