Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What a Christmas!

This Christmas was definitely a bench mark for On Rock. It was a confirmation that moving to A Ma Baie a year ago was the right move. We have had more community involvement this year than ever before. From Companies, individuals, churches, municipalities and other community organizations, so many responded to the growing need in our community to help us provide excellent food and gift boxes to those in need.

We held our fist Community Diner Christmas party. 51 people showed up and had a great evening of food, fun and gifts for the kids. Don and Ann did a great job of coordinating this event.

Food collection through the Christmas season was phenomenal. We have full shelves to help us get through the "slow" season that comes after Christmas.

This year we had 41 volunteers helping with our Christmas baskets. It was a little overwhelming, but amazing at the same time. The Police came out to help package and deliver boxes. 10 officers, including the Commander! Jim, a friend and City Councillor was on hand as well. Thank you to Xylem as well as all the other people who came out to make Christmas special for our families.

As always money is a challenge in these economic times, so I want to thank the various organizations who raised money for us this year through their Christmas initiatives. This is an encouragement to us and will help keep us moving forward.

I have started doing video blogs, which you can find on YouTube and our web site,

I want to wish you all a Happy & safe New Year. We look forward to this New Year in A Ma Baie.



Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Christmas Already!

Yes, Christmas is upon us. The day after Halloween, Starbucks had their Christmas decorations and menus up. This is also when we begin planning for our Christmas baskets. We are serving 160 families now. The number seems to grow every week. We already have 5 or six families who have come on board to supply Christmas dinner and gifts for kids to some of our families. It is amazing to experience the generosity that this season brings out.

Our Tim Horton's food collection has begun as well. Four Tim's this year are providing food for On Rock through their Christmas drive. St. Charles(north), Beaconsfield, St. John's and Sources stores are helping us out. So, drop in, have a coffee or a meal and bring some non-perishables with you. A big thank you to these stores for giving back to the community.

The Community Diner is planning a Christmas dinner for some of our friends in the neighborhood as well. This is a first for us and a big undertaking, but it should be a lot of fun.

If you would like to be involved in providing Christmas for one of our families, please contact us and we will set you up.



Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Busy Days

The Diner has been running for 4 weeks today. The response from the neighborhood has been good. Walk in on a Tuesday night and you can smell that something good is going on. The mood is upbeat, how can it be otherwise when 4 women, all over 60 are playing Foosball, squealing and giggling as they play.

We have also been overwhelmed by the number of people who are calling to volunteer. We have had good response from the media coverage we have received lately. Individual, schools and organizations are calling to get involved. It is encouraging to say the least.

Today is busy. 2 men are here cleaning, 3 people working in the kitchen getting food prep done for tonight. Pete just commented that it used to be quiet on Tuesdays,... I'd much rather this.



Thursday, September 29, 2011

Community Diner story in the News & Chronicle

The News & Chronicle did a story this week on the opening of the Diner next Tuesday. They did a great job. A big thanks to Carmen. You can read it here, Enjoy.



Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Community Diner

Last night we had a meeting with some of those who want to serve in our community Diner, Which opens Oct. 4th. It is so encouraging to sit with people who are full of ideas and experience. There were 7 of us in the meeting and there are at least 3 more we are aware of who want to help. This is amazing.

We start October 4th with a spaghetti supper. The plan is coming together beautifully, with Don and Ann co-coordinating the program. I look forward to seeing how the community responds.

Community Diner will be open every Tuesday from 5:30-8pm. Meals are $2 and $5 for a family. If you would like to be involved, let us know.



Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Hanging out with The Queen

Yesterday was the Queen of Angels Academy's beginning of the year BBQ. At this event they raised money for On Rock. We were invited to attend and set up an information table. The Principal and staff were very accommodating and interested in how the school could be involved with us throughout the year. The food was good, the people were great.

It was encouraging to make some new friends in the community. We are looking forward to exploring how we can work together this year.

Stay informed on twitter @onrockupdate



Wednesday, September 7, 2011


This has been quite a year so far. We have moved into our new facility and are now putting the finishing touches on our programs. In two weeks our Community Diner will open. People will be able to come on a Tuesday evening and receive a healthy meal for $2 or $5 for a family. Several of our friends in the neighborhood are waiting with anticipation for its opening. The food bank is growing, which is a double edge sword.

We are now feeding 150 families a week with a waiting list of about 20 families. The need in the West Island is growing. A study done by the City of Montreal shows that 44% of West Island North live under the poverty line($0-$19,000). This is a very high number. We are committed to working with other social needs organizations and the City to do what we can to help our neighbors.

We have begun working with one of the mental health organizations in the West Island to provide a work project for some of their clients who hope to return to the work force. The client will come to On Rock on a weekly schedule to do whatever work we can offer them. This gives the individual a feel for following a schedule and interacting with other workers outside of their therapeutic community.

Our challenge as we go forward is a financial one. We have grown 4 times our size when we first moved. At present we are operating at a $12,000 a month deficit. We are in need of people who will commit to give to this ministry and catch the vision for our community. We also need corporate donors. On the encouraging end, a highly influential man in the community told us he can help us with fund raising, so we are hoping this pans out. We have also begun working with our friend Anny to raise our profile in the community in order to raise funds.

If you would like to get involved, please email me and I will get the necessary information to you. If you are already involved, thank you for your generosity and desire to help us make a difference in our community. Together, we are making a difference.

Check out our website;



Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Big Picture

It has been a very busy 6 months for us here at On Rock. We are nearing the end of our renovations and look forward to starting up some new programs for the fall.

Our first project will be the Community Diner. We will be meeting with several people interested in being involved in this project to "build the dream", in the next few weeks. We have looked at several models and will take that information to create a Community Diner that will meet the needs of our community. We will start serving meals once a week, probably on Tuesday nights, and we will see where it goes from there. Our Friends in the neighborhood say they are looking forward to having a place where they can go during the week to eat a meal and be with people.

We continue to talk with the youth organizations in the area to understand what the needs are for youth in A Ma Baie. There are several organizations working with youth, and doing a great job of it. Our goal is to find out if there are any holes in the programming going on that we can fill. I do not want to duplicate services in any way. At present we seem to be hearing that there is a need for a program for 16-25 year olds. There are many things for under 15's to do, but at 16, resources dry up. If this is the case, then we will look at filling that niche. It will be a change from our past involvement with teens, but a welcome challenge.

The Food Bank has been doing very well over the past several months. We are serving about 150 families every week. Since we moved to A Ma Baie, our emergency box service has increased to about 5 boxes a week. We have been blessed with a great bunch of dedicated volunteers to sort and pack boxes on Monday mornings. We have also had several businesses in the West Island help us out over the past few months. Whether by supplying food for the food bank or flooring for our center, they have made a huge difference in our community.

A local high school teacher contacted us about being involved in our food bank for the summer. Tony came out and helped sort food and pack boxes on Monday morning. Once the boxes were packed, Tony said he would help deliver as well. We gave him a small route, close to On Rock. This week I asked him how the experience was for him. Tony shared that he wept on the way home in his car at the reality of poverty he had witnessed as he delivered boxes of food to families for whom this was the highlight of their day, maybe week. There is a real sense of accomplishment in helping those who have less. There is also a great sense of gratitude for all that we are blessed with. You don't have to look far to understand it.

There are two challenges that we are facing over the next few months, that you can help us out with. One, is the need for non-perishable food. In the dead of summer, food seems to be scarce. We have had a few amazing weeks because of unexpected shipments, but at present our shelves are bare. If you, your church, your swimming pool, or place of employment could collect food for us that would be amazing. If you are interested in helping out please call us. The second is our need for financial help. Our expansion into A Ma Baie has been a big step of faith for us. At present our rent is just under $4000 a month. This is money well spent in this neighborhood. Please consider partnering with us, if you don't already. If you do, Thank you. Together we make a difference.

If you would like to partner with us financially, you can do so through post-dated cheques, auto-debit, or through Canada Helps, on our website.

This work is a challenge, but things that are worth while usually are. It is less challenging when we work together, that is when we truly make a difference.



Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sharing is a wonderful thing

We learn it in kindergarten. We exhort our kids to do it. Sometimes, in adult life we forget the value of it. In the food bank world it is a huge joy to both give and receive. These past few weeks we have benefited from the generosity of Welcome Hall, a grocery store in Cote St. Luc, a food supply company in St. Laurent, Westminster Presbyterian, Christ Church in Beaurepaire and Westview Bible Church. Without the help of others we can't help others.
It is also a joy to be able to help other organizations. We have access to some supplies we can't use ourselves. We are networked with other groups that can use them, so we share. Whether it is coffee, huge cans of beans or snacks for kids programs, it is awesome to be able to call our friends and say we can help them out.
We have learned what a blessing it is to receive, and to share with those in need.

Together, we make a bigger difference.



Thursday, June 30, 2011

Together We Can Make a Difference.

Together We Can Make a Difference. This has been our tag line for a few years now. Why? Because it is true. Alone, we are limited in what we can actually accomplish, especially when it comes to something as large as poverty. when we work together however, good things can happen.

We have had a tough couple of weeks when it comes to food supplies. It just seems that companies are holding onto their stuff longer. However, yesterday we received a call from Welcome Hall Mission, offering us food supplies. We were there 2 hours later with a truck to pick up 3 pallets of food and 20 racks of bread. We appreciate their generosity and willingness to share. A few hours later, I received an email from a grocery store that helps us out when they can. Rocky said they had some food for us. He usually fills our van.

This is what I was talking about in the beginning. When we work together, more people get fed. Less food is wasted. It really makes a difference.

We are in need of a dock level delivery truck. We are exploring lease possibilities, but it would be amazing if one was donated. With a truck at our disposal, we have access to more food, which means more families get taken care of.

Together, We Can Make a Difference.



Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Great Week

This has been a good week. Actually a good couple of weeks. Yesterday we picked up about 4 tons of rubber gym flooring, donated by Monster Gym. Today, we pick up 126 cases of cold cuts, and Jack Astor's is giving us some dishes. As I type, there are 5 women from Westview Bible Church packaging Ramen noodles for our food bank.

There is something energizing about people's generosity. Whether they are donating goods, money or giving of their time, it is encouraging to those of us who do this every day. Thank you to all who give to this work.



Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Good News

We received a phone call today from one of the families we serve. The lady called to say that she was very thankful for all the help we have given her family, but they no longer needed our food support. She found employment. She can now take care of her own family.

This is the kind of news that makes me smile. We are so happy for her. I can't imagine how good that phone call must have felt to her. This is why we do what we do.

We heard from 3 other families this week as we did our check-ins that they no longer need our services. It is good to see families getting on their feet. So far it has been a good week.



Friday, April 8, 2011

The light at the end....

We can see the light at the end of the tunnel called renovation.
We have had our share of challenges. No doubt you heard about our fridge fiasco. Well, it was delivered, almost as promised. 5 months late but it is working. Thanks to the Gazette, the Suburban, and the many people who called Metro Caisse on our behalf. You helped motivate them to keep their promise.

There is still some work to do but we are almost there. The date for our Grand Opening is Saturday, May 7th, from 1pm - 5pm. We will have a BBQ and celebrate this new beginning. The adress is 9554 Gouin West in Pierrefonds. Please, join us in our celebration, and see first hand the imfamous fridge.



Wednesday, February 23, 2011

We need your help

We have been waiting 5 months for Metro Caisse to deliver our walk-in fridge that is fully paid for. They have been promising that it will be delivered every week. It turns out they sold us something they did not have. It cost us about $4000, which is a ton of cash to a charity. Mr. Roy, the owner continually promises results he has no intention of producing. How can you help? I am asking EVERYONE to call Metro and inquire as to when our fridge will be delivered. something like, " I am calling on behalf of On Rock Ministries, when will you be delivering our fridge". We have turned down $1000s of dollars of food because we do not have this fridge. Please help us. The # is 514-273-2274. Call often. Thank you.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Food bank and Renovations

We are half way through our slowest months of the year. After Christmas, food supplies tend to dry up pretty quickly. January and February are a challenge. So far this year we have been doing alright. We have had a few slim weeks, but our Christmas collection has helped us through this period. We are now serving 130 families every week and the number is climbing as we increase our food supplies. We have 20 families on our waiting list.

We are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel as far as renovations go. Last weekend we had 11 people come in and paint the whole facility in 1 day. It was amazing. The office and kitchen are almost complete. We will begin building the snack bar this week. The floor on the center side is still a question, but I am sure we will figure that out soon.

Our Grand opening should be announced soon. Stay tuned.



Wednesday, January 5, 2011

2010 in the rearview

2009 felt like it dragged on forever. 2010 seemed to blast by us before we knew it. 2010 was big year of change for us at On Rock. In the spring, we decided to put our building up for sale. It was becoming impossible to effectively operate our Ministries out of a small facility. We expected that it would take a long time to sell. We told our Real Estate Agent that we wanted $400,000 for it. He was not optimistic, telling me that the most we would get was $270,000, but to expect as low as $210,000. I insisted on $400,000 and he got me down to $395,000. He also reiterated that this would not be a quick sale.

A month later, Our Agent called me, to say a gentleman had driven by the building and wanted to buy it. He said the man wanted to deal immediately and would give us $360,000, but we had to be out in one week. He did not want an inspection, just a quick sale. The Agent was encouraging me to say yes, but I felt we could do better. I countered $380,000 and he had to give us two weeks to leave. This made our agent nervous, but he said he would try. 5 minutes later he called back to say the offer was accepted.

This amazing miracle meant we had to get out right away. Westview Bible Church was very generous in allowing us to run our food bank out of their gym every Monday. All our other programs went on hold and we moved everything into a borrowed 53 foot trailer. Challenger transport later donated a 53 ft trailer to us for permanent storage.

We spent about 8 months as a “homeless” Food Bank, and then found space in A Ma Baie that was large enough for us to grow into the community there. We wanted to move into this community because about 70% of our Food Bank clientele live there. We want to build relationships and offer more services to our friends there. .

November 1 we took occupancy under the bowling alley in A Ma Baie. We are in the process of equipping and renovating our new facility with hopes to open again in a month. The Food bank continues to operate in our new facility every Monday. We now serve 127 families a week. At present 35 of our families can now pick up there food every week, creating more contact between us and the community. It is a challenge, but we must continue to serve those in need.

We have new challenges ahead of us with this transition. We are renters once again and need to raise $3500 a month for rent. We have a fully equipped kitchen and a walk-in freezer, with a walk-in fridge to come. This is all second hand, but expensive none the less. We have spent about $20,000 on equipment. We are confident that people, churches and businesses will partner with us to meet this very real need in the West Island.

Thank you to all who support us and volunteer with us. We could not do the exciting things we are doing without you. Together, we can and do make a difference. We look forward to this new year and the opportunities to serve that it brings.