Calendar Project and Exhibition

Profiles of Courage 2017

coverPeople living below the poverty line in Nelson may be invisible, but they are known to us because nearly one in four (some 24.5%) of Nelson residents live in poverty: they are your neighbour, your family, your friend, one known to you right here in Nelson. 

The sources of courage sustain those struggling with poverty, something that links us all to our common humanity: our friends (human and furry), the beauty of the region, the power of art and poetry to offer hope and to calm the ever present sense of vulnerability, meaningful work that makes a difference in the lives of others. 

Throughout our calendar we hear from our participants that it is love – of family, friends (furry ones, too), and compassionate strangers – that sustains them in their daily challenges. The beauty of creation – whether of the imagination or of earth’s beauty that surrounds us in Nelson – envelopes us all. This is a source of courage on which we all draw daily.


Profiles of Courage 2017 Calendar Project on SALE
in the Church Office, Otters’s Books and John Ward Coffee.
$20 each    or 3 for $50

Proceeds from the sale of the calendar will go into an Emergency Fund 
to directly benefit those experiencing poverty or homelessness in Nelson.


Read Will Johnson’s Nelson Star article on the Calendar Launch, October 5.
Read Will johnson’s Nelson Star interview with Bernadette White and Michael Donaldson, September 28.


A page where others can relate their experiences 
of courage of living in poverty and homelessness. 
Click and Add your story for others to read.





2016 Calendar

Nelson: Poverty in Modern Times 2016
A Reflection from Carol Prochaska, member of Nelson United Church 

October image

October image

On Sunday evening, October 4th, 2015, I entered our church hall, took my pot luck dish to the serving table and then looked around for a place to sit. Upon seeing a woman alone at one of the tables I chose to sit down beside her. As strangers often do we began a conversation with some general comments about the pleasure of looking forward to the meal that was waiting. When I asked her, as people do when first meeting, if she was from Nelson, she replied that she was presently living in Castlegar. “Is this by choice?” I asked. “It’s where I can afford to live.” she explained.

So there we were, two women, chatting about food and shelter. And then…I learned that she was one of the photographers for the Calendar Project – Nelson: Poverty in Modern Times. Panhandling and homeless this past summer she had been placed recently at a small low income housing unit.

For me the evening (and the project) wasn’t about “feeding poor people”. It was about giving a voice to impoverished persons (‘those others’), hearing their stories and seeing the world through their eyes. It was about those without money asking to be seen, not as “scum”, but as human beings. It was about our similarities and our differences.

December image

December image

That event is now etched in my heart – probably for the rest of my life. That evening I was privileged to see Nelson United being church, doing what comes out of worship and following fellowship. In my mind we were being the body of Christ. We were with those whom Jesus includes and loves – those who really don’t matter much in the eyes of some, but they matter to Jesus. It may be a stretch but I’d like to think that somewhere that night there was a choir of angels singing the Hallelujah Chorus! As a member of Nelson United Church, Hallelujah Chorus or not, I will always be grateful for this event.  




calendarNelson: Poverty in Modern Times

Calendars for Sale: $20

The beautiful photographs in these calendars will touch everyone.  Proceeds will go towards supporting the locally impoverished.  The calendars, which make wonderful Christmas gifts, are available at:  

NUC’s office, Otter Books, Packrat Annie’s,
John Ward Coffee, Nature’s Health, Cotton Creek Clothing,
and Touchstones Museum.




October 4, 2015
From the Nelson Star:



January image

January image

September 18, 2015

Invitation from our Social Justice Team 

Our moment has arrived! On Sunday, October 4th we’ll welcome the participants and allies of the Poverty in Modern Times calendar project with a pot luck starting at 5 pm in the Church Hall. At 6:00 pm we’ll open the exhibit of their photos with a few remarks from some participants and others who were involved in the production of the calendar. Please come out to show your support in welcoming members of our wider community. Reead more in the Nelson Star


August 25, 2015


Earlier in the year, the Social Justice Team decided upon an idea of engaging the community of Nelson through a calendar project and photo exhibition called ‘Poverty and Modern Times 2015’. Cameras were handed out to low income or homeless individuals through local social service organisations. The idea was to document and reflect life and what it is like to be poor or homeless in a place like Nelson, through photographs and the written word.   It was decided that from the submissions, photos and accompanying text will be then selected for both a calendar and a photo exhibition to coincide with the ‘Action Week on Homelessness’ in early October.

13 cameras were handed out in the first week of July. 7 of these have been returned and this is the final number. Two local business Vogue Studios and Hall Printing are involved with the printing of the photos, the design and layout of the calendars as well as the large scale printing and mounting of the photos for the exhibition.  Up to now, the photos have been printed and a group of 5 people (Carol, Wendy, Liz, Morgan and Akka) convened to select the photographs. 13 images (at least 1 from every participant) were chosen for the calendar and an additional 7 more (for a total of 20) for the exhibition. While we had great expectations for the contents of the photographs, we nonetheless had to settle for what was presented to us.

We are in the process of identifying and confirming the retail outlets who will be willing to sell the calendars. We hope to have the calendars ready for sale by mid-September. Between mid and the end of September we hope to prepare all the necessary requirements for the exhibition like hanging the prints, advertising through media, NUC website and such. We have scheduled to launch the exhibition on Sun Oct 4 (7pm) with either a potluck or meal (5pm) to precede the opening.

If anyone is interested in helping out with advertising or preparing for the exhibition, you can either contact Morgan or Akka. Thank you for your time.




Poverty and Modern Times in Nelson


The Community Engagement Team, now renamed the Social Justice Team, meets regularly to discuss ongoing ways whereby the church can engage the community of Nelson around issues of social concern. Over time, it is our aim to develop long-standing community relationships of mutual benefit and enrichment.

The Social Justice Team is proposing a project this year called the Calendar Project and Exhibition; the exhibition is to be entitled POVERTY AND MODERN TIMES IN NELSON 2015.

Here is the description:
Inspired by the Hope in Shadows project in Downtown Eastside in Vancouver, the Poverty and Modern Times in Nelson endeavor envisions a locally produced calendar that is for sale together with a photo prints exhibition held in the Nelson United Church.   Both calendar and exhibition would consist of photos taken by the local community.

     Here is a brief outline of our project:

  • 20 single use disposable cameras (with 24 exposures each) distributed to local community organizations (Our Daily Bread, The Women’s Shelter, The Food Cupboard, Stepping Stones, Ward Street Place, etc.) serving low income and disadvantaged people.
  • Interested individuals can use these cameras to then document their lives, hopes, joys and sorrows. These cameras can bear witness to their daily existence impacted by either poverty, homelessness or ill health.   Photographs can, through ‘that frozen moment,’ depict the unadorned beauty of life which exists in spite of all the suffering and struggle.
  • Other interested individuals experiencing poverty may submit written statements, poems or literary efforts to accompany the images
  • If the cameras are distributed in March, then the deadline for photo submissions would be the end of August, six months later. The aforementioned organizations will oversee the retrieval of cameras .
  • A panel/committee is convened who would then select 25 photographs from all the submissions.
  • Those selected photos can then be printed in large format (e.g. 24”X36”), mounted on foam board and displayed for an exhibition at the Nelson United Church in Oct 2015.
  • From these 25 photographs, 13 can then be chosen to be printed locally into calendars for the year 2016.  Both the calendars and exhibition to be depicted in black and white for aesthetic reasons.
  • The exhibition and calendar launch can be scheduled for early Oct in conjunction with “Action on Homelessness Week” after which the 400 calendars will be on sale @$20 each to the public in Nelson.


Objectives:     The main objective of the project is to provide a platform for those experiencing poverty to express themselves, and to give voice to their experience. The photographs and accompanying texts becomes a vehicle to communicate the diverse elements and many faces of poverty and low income existence in and amongst the community of Nelson. We believe this objective can foster further understanding, empathy and compassion about the experience of poverty, homelessness and destitution, often hidden from view in an abundant, comfortable and peaceful place such as Nelson. Finally such understanding can be an effective tool to combat perceptions, stereotypes and stigmas that people impacted by poverty and ‘hard times’ come up against every day.

There are upfront costs that will be covered by sales of the calendars. Here is a cost estimate breakdown (subject to change):

  • 20 Disposable cameras (taxes and shipping)                   –   $ 250
  • 25 Exhibition prints (24”x36”) mounted on foam board @$80 per print plus taxes
                                                                                      approx.  –   $2250
  • 400 black & white folding calendars (this is dependent on us Supplying the printer with a print ready file)                                                                               –   $1552 plus taxes
  • Photo Printing plus taxes (Vogue Studios)                     –   $ 150
  • Other extraneous costs                                                        –   $??

Estimated total costs approx.                                                       –   $4300


This is a small local project involving local community members. The project has a modest scope with a small print run of 400 calendars. The Hope in Shadows Project initially sold 1700 calendars in 2003; in 2014 they sold 17,000 calendars. The end result of this project is more than just a calendar and an exhibition; rather it is an opportunity to forge friendships and bring people together. It is also an opportunity for the church to establish greater connection and increased relevance within the community at large. Human energy and time is needed to fulfill this project.   Volunteers with computer technical ability are needed as well, to transfer the photos onto a digital format etc. and to help with the exhibition.  

Final words: We have to be clear that this is NOT a competition with prizes for the best photos. We also have to make clear that there is no INDIVIDUAL monetary gain from the sale of the calendars or prints. Any surplus funds from the project will have to be collectively managed in dialogue with participant photographers and by the local organizations involved.

Last but not least, a viable idea or project is like a well planted perennial: It can sustain itself and even outgrow its initial expectations.

Thank you for your time and interest.


For additional information please contact Project Lead: Danaraj Doraisamy