Here you will find information on the Work that Emmanuel United Church does with local organizations and partners.
FOOD BANKS AND EMMANUEL
Every month the Social Action Committee reminds us to bring items to help some of our local Food Banks. Quarterly we have a Reverse Offering when we receive suggestions of special needs to guide our giving. Faithfully we remember our empty egg cartons, some peanut butter, some soups, other nonperishable food items such as soup, beans, ... do we then set aside any thoughts about our neighbours who need far more than that? Some of our neighbours are food insecure every day, not just on Food Bank Sunday.
Most Food Banks were established over 25 years ago - often by churches. Emmanuel and our merged partners were among the first. Little did they dream that the needs would persist and grow all these many years.
Emmanuel is connected with 4 Food Banks/Pantries! Our church budget supports Heron Community Centre/Emergency Food Centre with $1100, Rideau-Rockcliffe Community Resource Centre (RR) with $1100, Russell Heights Community Centre (RH) with $2450 . Our in-kind donations all go to RH and RR, delivered each month by the Kavcics and Perons. Our monetary donations help provide the basic support , but the in-kind donations are also vital. Gloucester Emergency Food Cupboard was co-founded by Ann Frederking ,who still plays an active leadership and volunteer role for them, and Joyce White and Jennifer Mogridge are volunteers, although we do not fund it directly..
The Ottawa Food Bank (OFB)supports 140 local agencies in meeting food needs of 50,000 people every month. Over the years service areas have been carefully developed and a common data base prevents duplication , One can go online to find the nearest place for help, complete with operational hours , and other instructions. For instance, persons living on the south side of Smythe must go to the Heron Emergency Food Centre , but those on the north/east side go to Russell Heights. Local agencies gather uniform data to better describe the people who need help, and the services provided. Clients must bring proof of address, and photo id of every family member for whom help is sought at every visit.
Our Food Banks are very efficient operations- generally with minimal paid staff and reliant on dedicated volunteers who help with finding food sources, unloading deliveries and stocking the pantry shelves with the food donated and received from the Ottawa Food Bank , and filling grocery bags for the clients . Those egg cartons you save- all are filled at the pantry from the bulk delivery from the OFB..The OFB itself uses only 4% of donated funds to run the operation, the rest goes to purchase food. Because they buy in volume the value of donations is multiplied about five-fold.
Great effort is made to have fresh food as much as possible, and to emphasize healthy eating .Volunteers have shared in gleaning from local farms.
A standard level of support applies to all the food banks: once a month a family can receive about 3-4 days worth of food, consisting of some staples such bread, eggs, protein ( either fresh/frozen meats or cans),vegetables and fruit- usually some fresh ,some canned, legumes ( e.g. beans and chick peas), soups, usually pasta and sauce .The amount is set according to the family size and composition. The food banks also try to offer other necessities such as personal care products, laundry and dish soaps. diapers and baby food. Clients are encouraged to bring their recyclable bags too! It may look like a lot as they carry out their supply- but - once a month does not last long!
RIDEAU-ROCKCLIFFE COMMUNITY RESOURCE CENTRE
Formerly the Overbook Food Pantry, this was a mission of Eastbook United ,and the Kavcics and Ann Frederking maintain the connection. It now serves about 1,000 persons each month.
The Food Pantry is open 2 days weekly. RR Food Bank is part of the Community Resource Centre's Poverty Reduction Program, Simon Cyr, Director . In addition to the food pantry distributions, families are helped by its Good Food Market - fresh vegetables offered at "cost+4%" due to a local Loblaw's cooperation. In addition to food help, the Centre offers a lot of programs to help with jobs, skill development and ESL.
The Pantry has recently been able to expand its space, and now has a cheery waiting room and volunteers can bring the clients in to help choose off the shelves what they will receive . A volunteer goes through the pantry with each client ,using the allotment guide as they pick out their share from whatever is available ,for example, 2 cans of vegetables, 1 dairy, etc...
It is a gift of dignity for the client to have choices. and they appreciate this very much. It also helps to prevent food waste , no one gets something that no one in the family will eat! AS there are more middle Eastern clients it is notable that they generally do not eat pork and beans ! Chick peas are popular ! Some halal meat is also available, but not as much as could be used. The personal care shelves were empty when we visited.
Volunteers are the lifeblood of this, as of all pantries. RR has 20 dedicated adult volunteers. Students getting their mandatory community service hours also participate in keeping the pantry going. Simon has had no trouble finding vollunteers, but financial support is always needed and appreciated.
HERON EMERGENCY FOOD CENTRE
This is one of the largest food banks in Ottawa and served 21,692 persons in 2015. Of these, 6,137 were children,18% were repeat families,27 % single parents, and 3% were seniors. The need has been increasing year afer year - 11% increase last year . The city gives space and an operations grant of $34,918 in2015. EUC gives $1,100/ year and Nanette Whitwam represents us on the board.
HEFC is open 4 days each week, a total of 8 hours. It does not have enough space to bring clients into the pantry to select from the shelves, but they serve each one individually and try to accommodate individual preferences as much as possible within available resources. Their want list this month includes : peanut butter, cereal, tuna, canned fruits and vegetables, pasta sauce, chick peas, kidney beans, snacks for children.
There are 105 volunteers who keep this service operating! High schoolers gave 7500 hours too! Our EUC choir participated in the Christmas Benefit Concert which raised $11,366 for the Centre.
HEFC's total receipts for 2015 were $85,741- imagine how much good that $3.95/person produced for each of the 21,692 people they served !!
GLOUCESTER EMERGENCY FOOD CUPBOARD
While EUC does not support this program financially , directly, the volunteer work of Ann Frederking, Joyce White and Jenifer Mogridge are certainly invaluable. One other odd connection: Ann tells how she salvaged the carpet which EUC was throwing out when the sanctuary was tiled- that carpet now warms the waiting room at GEFC!!
GEFC served 20,695 persons in 6137 families in 2015. About 140-200 people , representing 40-60 families, are served each time the doors open. 41% are children . GEFC also has space to allow clients to participate in choosing the items they receive,. It is a cheery friendly bustling place- surely the clients feel valued and dignified . Ninety-five adult and 25 student volunteers keep it humming .There is only one paid staff person, Director Gwen Bouchard, who is also on the Board of the OFB. She and volunteers get to know the clients, and share in their joys and sorrows. I heard them asking about a mother's health, a student's exams.. They gave a lot of joy as well as food!
RUSSELL HEIGHTS COMMUNITY CENTRE
Marg Armstrong and other Emmanuelites helped to establish this active community center which provides a wealth of social , educational and health opportunities for all ages , as well as food. The variety of programs is amazing - from pre- kindergarten preparation to seniors , boys and girls clubs , homework help, , and skating and dancing too! 72 volunteers, including teens, keep this center humming all day and evening, weekends too. Ian Page was a Board member for many years, and he and Jeannie have been a great help. Wendy McCracken is currently our contact.
This is a small Food Bank, serving mainly the east end of Riverview Park service area. About 45 families, nearly 400 individuals, are helped each week. It is in a very small space , which creates extra work for the volunteers . Open from 4:30 to 6 on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month, It provides all the usual items . About 10 adult volunteers manage all the usual food bank chores: unpacking the OFB delivery. filling the egg cartons we supply, packing boxes for the families they expect . One young strong man carries the loaded boxes up from the basement assembly area to the waiting family. In addition to what the OFB provides, and what they receive as in-kind donations, a faithful volunteer also provides fresh fruit and vegetables every Wednesday, not just Food Bank days!
The RH Community Centre is blessed to have a wonderfully warm ,creative and energetic director, Sara Dwyer. She creates a wonderful community spirit -and having been there 9 years , remembers when many of "her kids" were born!
Emmanuel does a lot of good through these 4 Food Banks. We can be proud of this work in our neighbourhood- being Christ's hands and feet to feed the hungry