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.