Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to our most commonly asked questions...

Where does nightlight’s funding come from?

nightlight does not receive any government funding. Our operations are completely financed by the generous donations of individuals and churches, as well as through our major fundraising events each year (CNOY and RFR – more details below). 

What kind of people Go to the Drop-in Centres?

Our doors are open to anyone over the age of 18. Our guests are a diverse group of people. They may be poor; they may be struggling with addictions or mental health concerns; they may be lonely and isolated; or they may simply enjoy the warm and caring community they’ve discovered at nightlight.

Why don’t you allow minors at nightlight?

There are lots of very good services available for trouble youth, but not many for adults. Still the primary reason we ask that minors not come to our drop-in centres is safety. There is the possibility that a guest may have a history of inappropriate behaviour towards children (anyone is welcome). We want to support those guests by eliminating the risk of a contact with children, and make nightlight a sanctuary from their troubles.

Is nightlight a Food Program or meal service?

No, nightlight is primarily about addressing relational needs, not about feeding or clothing people. We offer complimentary beverages (coffee, tea, juice) and often some snacks like cookies or crackers, but the focus is on facilitating conversation and relationship, not on serving meals to our guests.

What is the time commitment for volunteering?

Volunteers are asked to arrive about 30 minutes before the drop-in hours begin to prepare the facility, to pray and to participate in the shift briefing. The drop-in lasts 2 to 3 hours (depending on the location). Afterward, we do some basic clean-up, a debrief and prayer. This typically takes about 10-20 minutes.

Volunteers are encouraged to join a team and volunteer on the same night each week. Because the ministry has relationship at its centre, we ask that our volunteers try to make a regular commitment, coming every week where possible. This allows the teams to work effectively and allows everyone to develop stronger relationships. 

Can I Visit before I become a volunteer?

You’re always welcome to come to nightlight as a guest. Pop in any night we’re open and we’d be happy to show you around. You can find out operating hours and locations on our home page.  

How can I give a donation?

You can make a one-time donation, or set up monthly donations. Monthly donations have the benefit of helping to stabilize our cash flow and help us plan for the future. You can give one-time donations or set up recurring donations through Canada Helps.

If I donate to nightlight in my city, where does the money go?

100% of all monies raised stay in the city in which they are raised.  While our mailing address is a Kingston one, that’s because that’s where we process all giving…it’s a way to keep costs down for all.  If, for some reason, more money was donated in your city than is needed, we would do more in your city. We are typically running on a minimalist budget.


The newsletter shows the funds needed in some cities higher than in others, why?

The simple answer is that the costs in each city are different.  Some require more to operate than others. For instance, rent prices vary from city to city.

The newsletter may show significant deficits for all or some cities. How can the nightlight organization become sustainable?

The truth is that a few people are making significant personal sacrifices to give people in your city – and all cities – a chance to take on responsibility for the mission God has set in front of us.  Those at the margins are central to the gospel and so we pray that you’ll help us by giving and encouraging others to do the same. Consistent, monthly giving will make it sustainable.


How do the operating costs break down?

Generally speaking, 50% are on staffing (our best asset for this kind of ministry), 25% on site, and 25% on everything else.

What is ‘coldest night of the year’ (CNOY) and ‘Ride for Refuge’ (RFR)?

These are nationwide fundraising events organized by BlueSea Philanthropy each February (CNOY) and October (RFR). Both events raise money for charities in the cities where they are held. In the case of CNOY, all the money raised in Belleville and Kingston goes to nightlight (minus an administrative fee). RFR is the main fundraising event for our nightlight Cambridge centre. With RFR, each team picks a local charity partner and the funds they raise go to that charity. Both CNOY and RFR are great opportunities to raise awareness about nightlight drop-in centres within Belleville, Cambridge and Kingston.



Have another question about nightlight that is not included here? Send us an email and we’ll answer your question directly.