I am here on this Outreach Sunday to spread the Good News of what St. Simon’s does in its ministry of Outreach.
My name is Bronwen Bruch. I am the Outreach Cluster Coordinator. Within the Outreach cluster, we need a leader for many of our programs, to ensure the success of each program. If you look at your bulletin insert, you will see on one side, the names of some of our programs, and the leaders of each and their email address. We also have some programs that are not listed there, but members of the Outreach committee work together to ensure that those other programs run successfully too.
Today you will see visually some of the volunteers that are a part of some of our programs. It would take me hours or days to show every volunteer and discuss each program in detail, but I hope you will leave today knowing a bit more of how the ministry of Outreach takes seriously St Simon’s mission: “Go forth to be caring people committed to building community growing with God and serving the world through Christ’s example.”
My focus today will be on the local Outreach Programs that we are a part of through partnerships with other organizations in the community
But St Simon’s continues with its long time commitment to provide for those in need nationally and internationally. Some examples of that are through our Annual Christmas Outreach to Council of the North and our nudges to provide financial donations to PWRDF for emergency situations like the hurricane in Bahamas, or annual donations for some of the programs that you can see on the PWRDF poster in the Narthex. And of course our Belize mission is a huge part of our International Outreach.
Before I get to the slides, I just want to tell you about a program called the Neighbour Care Network or NCN for short that is led by staff at Kerr Street Mission, but is a partnership between faith groups in Oakville. It evolved from a program called Restore that came out of Markham and was also a network of faith groups.
On the NCN website they have the following quote:
A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.
The Neighbour Care Network is a shared initiative of local church compassion ministries (we call that Outreach), organized, facilitated and supported by Kerr Street Mission.
The goal of the initiative is to build the capacity of the community to care for their neighbours in need. As well as building a network of trained care support volunteers we are engaging the network of care giving agencies and establishing a network of potential benevolent partners. The Neighbour Care Network provides ongoing support and mentorship to Care Support Volunteers so they can come alongside individuals and families in difficulty and distress. The Care Support volunteers work with clients to identify and access available resources so they can get to a more stable and sustainable situation and improve their health and well-being.
The Neighbour Care Network operates on the basis of giving a ‘Hand Up’, not a ‘hand out’, by assisting Care Support Volunteers to uncover and address the root causes of the situation, and work with clients to create a viable plan which provides direction, accountability, relief and hope.
Through the training in this program, we have learned about other sources of funding in the community, so we now can use our St Simon’s Outreach Benevolent Fund more effectively for just those that fall through the cracks.
Robyn Michell is the one that knows best the other sources of funding in our community. That is mostly because she has been a care planner to numerous people in need through Restore and what is now called the Neighbour Care Network over the last many years. But all of the St Simon’s care planners know much more than we ever did before.
I am going to share with you a couple cases that were funded through the benevolent funds of the faith groups (like ourselves) that are part of the Neighbour Care Network.
R is a single mother of 2, and has been struggling financially for years. The situation has finally warranted action on the NCN’s behalf to try and put together a plan that she could follow. While we can work with some of the outstanding loans that need to be paid back over time there is urgent need to pay off her hydro as she has already accessed the LEAP program and without supports from the NCN she will have her hydro soon cut off. The amount we need is around $1000.
NCN will have referred her to Christians Against Poverty who will assist with her credit issues by working with her to prepare a realistic spending plan, and working with her creditors, to find a solution which will reduce the credit burden on her. The LEAP (Low-income Energy Assistance Program) that she already accessed that year provides a grant of up to $500 per year and is available to eligible low-income customers who are behind on their bill and may face having their electricity service disconnected. St Simon’s contributed $500 from the Outreach Benevolent Fund. Other faith groups that are part of the NCN will have contributed too. If she had not been assisted through NCN, his would have been a barrier for this woman to move forward, and ultimately become self-sustaining again.
A is a single mom who is expecting a child in March. She has been working but has recently stopped working as per the doctors’ orders. It will be several weeks before her E.I. kicks in and A will be behind with her rent as a result. She is doing extremely well with budgeting and is accessing the food bank and paid for the Halton Fresh Food Box, to supplement her grocery bill. A has followed through with everything that has been asked of her. We have verified that her rent is $1800 a month, all inclusive. She has requested help with half of the rent so she can stay on top of it. Once her E.I. starts, A is in a position to cover everything on her own once again.
There are 2-5 asks each time from NCN to the Faith Group network and we pick one to assist, and give a portion of the ask.
Our low income neighbours are blessed with some great programs in the Oakville community. However, many still fall through the cracks.
I am hoping that by sharing the work that we do in Outreach Ministry at St Simon’s it will inspire you to share some of your time, talents and treasures to assist in the success of our programs.
So time for the slides:
Canterbury Hills camp – has been going for over 50 years and is owned and operated by the Anglican Diocese of Niagara. They were full to the brim with campers this last summer.
Kerr Street community dinners – serve children in the after school program and their families, 1st Friday of the month
Montclair Breakfast Program – 100 children signed up and 60 participate each morning – running since 1999 in partnership with a benefactor who funds the groceries and any supplies so we find and coordinate the volunteers and purchase the groceries.
Halton Fresh Food Box (HFFB)– 9 families on Ontario Works who are provided a voucher to collect a Food box free of charge, St Simon’s Outreach pays for a food box for 16 families who fall through the cracks – mostly those on ODSP (Ontario Disability Supports Program) who do not get vouchers like those on Ontario works do.
33 pick up sites in Halton; volunteer packers meet on the second Tuesday of the month in the morning at Kerr Street Mission; and volunteer pick up site coordinators and helpers help once a month from 4-7pm, 2 shifts of helpers
We used to ask our Neighbours for a cup of sugar. That has changed to a couple Toilet paper rolls. So when the low-income people come to pick up their food box we offer them a couple rolls of toilet paper, Cobbs bread that has been donated and items in the St Simon’s food and toiletries cupboard
Thanksgiving Meal Hampers – 40-50 prepared – 25 of our HFFB low income participants and the rest that are users of the Oak Park Neighbourhood Centre (OPNC) weekly food bank.
Warmth Drive – coming up in November – hats, scarves, mittens purchased for 48 children from 29 families through Home Suite Hope
Easter Chocolates – to mostly young singles – Churchill food bank run by OPNC – they now have other social services there – 50-70 participants – not geared to income housing – housing is delipitated
Project Linus – ‘Blanketeers’ knit blankets to support Oakville’s chapter of ‘Project Linus’ that gifts blankets to children who are seriously ill, traumatized or otherwise in need of some love.
On the other side of your bulletin insert it gives you examples of how a donation to Outreach on Outreach Sunday will assist our programs:
$15 will provide a Fresh Food Box for a family
$40 will provide a Thanksgiving Meal Hamper for a family with all the fixings
$100 will assist when the network of Oakville faith groups receive asks for contributions to those in need that are registered in the Neighbour Care Network
And our Outreach committee members will be in the Narthex by the posters to give your more information about the programs and volunteer opportunities.