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2021 Annual Report to Vestry at St. Jude’s Church
By Justice and Servant Ministries
Since 2010, when Justice and Servant Ministries was given a new mandate focusing on food ministry, the J&SM Team has developed, implemented, and grown a number of programs, working in collaboration with several community agencies and with the Regional Municipality of Halton. Each year, the Team’s recommendations for grants have been approved by the Corporation. The Team’s responsibilities include recruiting volunteers, designating program leadership, problem-solving and working closely with food partners. The J&SM Team communicates regular updates to the Parish Council and to the congregation, to keep them informed. The theme this year was to “soldier on”, in spite of pandemic restrictions. This we have done!
- Revised Mandate for Justice and Servant Ministries Approved by the Corporation
The preamble to our mandate is:
“In our community, there are individuals and families who go hungry, who do not have secure shelter and who struggle against many obstacles to make better lives for themselves and their children. Jesus tells us to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, and give help to those who need it and to show our love of the wonder of God’s creation by being better stewards of our world.
Jesus’ words are reflected in the five Anglican Marks of Mission, including “to respond to human need by loving service’ and “to seek to transform unjust structures of society”, which serve as a guide to all Anglican churches. With the help of the Holy Spirit, the Justice and Servant Ministries Team is committed to following Jesus’ words, as reflected in the mandate.
In carrying out this mandate, the Justice and Servant Ministries Team is determined that no one be denied assistance from St. Jude’s on the basis of age, ancestry, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, religious affiliation, disability, marital status or gender identity.”
The mandate is in three parts:
- Mobilize the resources and engage the members of the parish, focusing these on interventions to alleviate the problems of hunger/malnutrition and food insecurity amongst families and individuals in our community and working in partnership with a group of community agencies;
- Promote social justice in our society, by engaging in projects which address injustice; namely the climate crisis, homelessness, the need for affordable housing, racial injustice and poverty; and
- Encourage parishioners to respond to requests for individual contributions to international crisis relief and to support international development projects and agencies, by informing parishioners about global Anglican appeals from the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund.
The revised mandate was submitted to the Corporation in February and was approved.
- New PWRDF Contact Person for St. Jude’s
Chris Manning stepped down from the Coordinator position in June, after several years’ service. In August, Roger Beach was appointed as the contact person for St. Jude’s, with a job description as recommended by the Diocese. Following an orientation period, we are now receiving regular monthly newsletters from PWRDF that provide updates on projects for which fundraising is ongoing and information on new campaigns. Links to the most recent newsletter are now included with the weekly email bulletin distributed by the church office.
- Planning for the Renovation of the St. Jude’s Kitchen
Property Committee and Justice and Servant Ministries recommended to the Corporation that St. Jude’s obtain quotations for renovating the kitchen, in order to bring it into compliance with applicable building codes and to better meet the needs of St. Jude’s community ministries. This recommendation was approved in April. In August, Property Committee and Justice and Servant Ministries submitted a proposal from Dickinson and Hicks, an architectural firm specializing in church construction and renovation in Ontario, and recommended that the Corporation approve the payment of $3,325 to D+H for an initial concept design and a preliminary budget estimate for construction. This was approved.
In addition to enabling a continuing expansion of our food ministry, there are two other important benefits to renovating the kitchen. This will enable St. Jude’s to host more parish social events and fundraisers which include a meal or a food preparation component. Secondly, it will enable St. Jude’s to increase facility rental income, particularly for events requiring kitchen facilities and/or catering, such as wedding and funeral receptions.
Following an extensive consultation with kitchen users and food services experts, and after several iterations of drawings, D+H has produced a recommended design and a preliminary estimate of cost. Based on these, Property Committee and Justice and Servant Ministries are recommending that St. Jude’s proceed with the renovation project, conditional on obtaining a capital grant of up to $150,000 from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
- Food for Life Outreach Program “Groceries for Families”
Interim Coordinator – George Duross
As they have been doing for over ten years, each Wednesday, St. Jude’s volunteers deliver bags of groceries to needy families in our community. They are residents of the Region’s housing complex at Margaret/Maurice Drive. In 2021, we helped an average of 45 families, approximately 140 people, each week. They received over 46,000 pounds of food: 3,200 bags of assorted groceries, 1,600 Halton Food for Thought school-snack supplements, 32 turkeys at Christmas and 2,200 protein supplements. The protein supplement, typically a dozen fresh eggs per family, is provided by St. Jude’s.
We recognize and thank Food for Life, our community partner, who sources, sorts, packs and delivers about 900 pounds of food each week to the parking lot in the housing complex. Thanks are also due to our loyal group of about 15 volunteers, who show up every week, on time, rain-or-shine, with a smile, to load the food into their vehicles and then deliver it to our families.
Food for Life delivery (Gary Marsh and George Duross)
- Monday and Thursday Congregate Dinners at KSM
These dinners were suspended during the year, while Kerr Street Mission assessed their ministries during the pandemic.
Special thanks are due to Julia Hanna, owner of Ritorno restaurant, who supplied the food, cooked and delivered the Monday night dinners from January to June 2021.
- Neighbour Care Network
Coordinator – Kevin Farrell
St. Jude’s has participated as a church partner in Neighbour Care Network (NCN), a program managed by Kerr Street Mission (KSM) since 2018. The goal of NCN is to come alongside individuals and families in distress, to help them identify and access appropriate community support services and thereby get them to a more independent, healthier and more sustainable situation.
In 2021, KSM updated the policies governing NCN and issued a revised “Letter of Agreement” that sets out the responsibilities of each party for the program. The Letter of Agreement was reviewed by the Justice and Servant Ministries, approved and executed by church signatories.
In August 2021, Matt Foxall the NCN Coordinator at KSM stepped down and Paula Da Rocha filled the role in September. Since the end of government assistance, KSM has seen a drastic increase in the number of people requesting help and they currently do not have enough volunteers to help meet the demand.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected plans and restricted our ability to help. However, St Jude’s volunteers are currently supporting one KSM client, fulfilled benevolence requests from KSM during the year and helped search for affordable rental properties in Oakville.
- Dinner at your Door Program
Coordinators – Kevin and Catherine Farrell
Because of COVID-19, and the suspension of congregate dining programs, this new program was introduced in 2021. We worked with Links2Care, following their proposal to St. Jude’s for us to start cooking and delivering hot meals to isolated, low-income seniors living in two apartment buildings in Oakville. Initially, a Milton program, Melani Bastian’s “No One Goes Hungry”, agreed to deliver hot meals to Queen Elizabeth Park each week, where St. Jude’s volunteers would pick them up and deliver them to clients identified by Links2Care.
However, we decided to work with Front Line Outreach in Oakville, because FLO was able to allocate a number of the meals prepared by volunteers in their Prince Charles Place kitchen to St. Jude’s clients. The logistics were easier, with much faster delivery times. Kevin and Catherine Farrell are the main delivery volunteers for Dinner at Your Door, taking both hot and frozen meals every Thursday to 20- 25 clients in the two buildings and in their own homes and apartments. As the number of referrals from Links2Care has grown, so has the number of volunteer drivers who make the deliveries.
- Pantry Program
Coordinator – Megan Arthurs
The Pantry Program Team of volunteers produced approximately 120 meals (usually packaged in 60 two-serving plastic containers) on each of seven occasions in 2021. These meals are intended for persons who are homeless, or homebound or unable to cook for themselves. The meals were prepared at St. Simon’s Church in Oakville, then taken to Buffo’s Butchery and Delicatessen for freezing and temporary storage. Later in the year, meals were taken to St. Jude’s for freezing and temporary storage. The frozen meals are delivered by St. Jude’s volunteers to the head office in Oakville of Links2Care, a social service agency whose case managers deliver the frozen meals to qualifying clients across Halton Region.
Meals produced were: Shepherd’s Pie; chili; sausage and lentil soup; roast pork with sweet potatoes and corn; and a Christmas meal of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn and gravy – all of which were popular with recipients.
Volunteer cooks included Sharon Richardson, Carol Lowes, Bonnie Lovelace, Lorie Marrett, Susan Bowen, Megan Arthurs, Stephanie Capobianco, Nora Fulcher, Rosemary Detje, and Helen Mara. Four of the cooking sessions were done by volunteers from the Hope Church in Mississauga and from Graham Construction. Blair Richardson and Mike Say delivered the meals to Links2Care.
Following discussions in the Fall, the Head of the Culinary Program at White Oaks Secondary School, Jon Hogan, agreed that his senior students would start cooking meals for the Pantry Program in February 2022.
A special thank-you is due to Buffo’s for their discount on the price of meat purchased for some of the meals and for their willingness to freeze and temporarily store the meals.
- Lyon’s Lane Garden Plot
Coordinator – Michael Nightingale
A small group of greenhorns from St. Jude’s started to grow vegetables on a municipal garden plot at Lyon’s Lane in 2012, with the intention of sending the produce to Kerr Street Mission. Over the years, we have been assigned two more plots. This year, we harvested 730 lbs. of mixed vegetables – the biggest producers being tomatoes, turnips, chard, bok choi, and varieties of squash including butternut and eggplant – all of which were provided to KSM clients. Three volunteers, Mike Lanning, Austin Hazlett, and Michael Nightingale, have worked since the beginning, but we have enjoyed the occasional help of others, including students on summer vacation. We are always eager to welcome new volunteers to our group! Starting in April, we meet Wednesday mornings at Lyon’s Lane, depending on the weather and what work needs to be done. Age and/or experience are not important – we all enjoy watching plants grow and mature – and with more participants, perhaps we would be able to get another plot – or two! – and so be able to help more families and young children in need.
- Summer BBQ Program
Coordinator – Barbara Caine
Halton Region approved our program proposal, in which we described how new program procedures would enable us to comply with Public Health COVID-19 protocols. This required a very labour-intensive program, compared to previous years. Each meal had to be delivered to the address in the housing complex. Residents had to send in their meal orders to the church office in advance, so we could prepare the appropriate quantity of food each week, and prepare bag labels.
The meal consisted of individual portions of Halal barbequed boneless chicken thighs, alternating side salads, fresh fruit cup, cookies and a juice box. The chicken, generously coated with BBQ sauce, was grilled on site, in the early evening. The salads were prepared in the church kitchen beforehand. Eight student volunteers, all residents of the housing complex at Margaret/Maurice Drive, delivered the meals. 14 adult volunteers packaged the grilled chicken on site and put all the amounts ordered by each family into pre-labelled bags for delivery. They also supervised the delivery, by accompanying the students; this according to Diocesan policy. Elinor Farrell helped with documenting the students’ hours, so that these hours could count towards secondary school requirements.
Over the eight-week period in July and August, a total of 1,150 meals were delivered to an average of 35 families. (The number of families grew as the summer progressed.) All told, 29 people volunteered in the program; most from our congregation, but some from the wider community, too. They were severely tested in the last week, when a deluge of rain fell suddenly during grilling operations, soaking the team!
Despite the complexity, the program ran smoothly; we received positive feedback from residents and from volunteers, who enjoyed an evening in the Caines’ back yard later in the Fall as a thank you.
- Annual Expenditures and Grants to Community Partners
Accountant – Roger Beach
COVID restrictions disrupted a number of our programs again this year, with some having to be cancelled while others, including the Summer BBQ and Wednesday Grocery Delivery, having to be re-organized in order to allow us to continue the programs. As a result, budgets for cancelled or reduced service programs were re-allocated to cover the increased cost of re-organized programs and to allow for grant support to new partners. One new program originally planned with Links2Care was re-engineered with Front-Line Outreach (FLO) taking on the leading role. Under the program FLO prepares meals on a weekly basis that are delivered by St. Jude’s volunteers to qualifying individuals residing at Marlborough House and Knox Heritage Place in Oakville.
With COVID restrictions again forcing the cancellation of the annual Rummage Sales and Bazaar, J&SM provided grants to St. Matthew’s House and Meals-on-Wheels in the amount of $2,500 each. Funding for grants to these charities has previously been provided directly from the proceeds of the Rummage Sales and Bazaar. In 2021 we also increased our grant support to Black Mentorship Inc (BMI) – a charity based in Oakville that aims to increase opportunities for Black and visible minority youth, professionals and entrepreneurs by connecting them with experienced mentors.
During the year we also received unplanned donations in the amount of $3,605. These funds were also utilized to support grant payments.
66.6% of the approved budget was used to provide grant support payments to community partners, and 29.9% (or $13,450) represented direct program expenses. Further details are included in the table below.
- Volunteer Recruitment and Management
As our outreach activities continue to grow, so, too, does our complement of volunteers. Our data base has contact information for more than 80 volunteers. As our congregation ages, fewer people are able to meet the physical demands of volunteer assignments. So, in 2021, St. Jude’s became a subscriber with Volunteer Halton, which enabled us to post our list of volunteer opportunities on their web site. (In 2021, over 200,000 visits to the web site have been recorded.) We received over 30 inquiries from prospective volunteers. For some, there was a good fit with one of St. Jude’s programs, and they have made a significant contribution to our efforts, for which we are extremely grateful!
In 2021, work began to bring Justice and Servant Ministries into compliance with the Anglican Diocese of Niagara policy on “Screening and Management of Staff and Volunteers.” The aim of this policy is to ensure that there is a safe environment in all parishes. Recognizing that there are situations where abuse may potentially occur, the policy sets out the requirements to protect children, youth and vulnerable adults from abuse in any of its forms.
The policy defines an “appropriate screening and management method”, in nine steps, to be followed by each parish. We are working on the first three steps, including writing job descriptions for all coordinator positions, and assessing the risk associated with each volunteer position/outreach program. We acknowledge with gratitude the help of Julie Hudak in this work.
- Climate Crisis – A Social Justice Issue
It was decided to conduct a survey of the congregation on usage of electrical vehicles (EV). The purpose of the survey was to get background information on the extent of use, and interest in, EV’s as a way of helping to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions related to climate change.
The use of vehicles with internal combustion engines is a significant contributor to GHG emissions. Burning fossil fuels like gasoline and diesel releases carbon dioxide, which together with other GHGs contributes to atmospheric warming. In Canada, the transportation sector emits at least 25% of all CO2 emissions. Of this amount, road transportation accounts for 69%. Over 39,000 new electric vehicles were registered in 2020, but that is still a fraction of the 1.38 million new gasoline-powered vehicles registered in Canada in the same period.
There were only 23 responses to the survey, which was very disappointing. Four respondents own or lease an EV. For the 19 respondents who do not, 12 would consider an EV, while 7 would not. The main reasons for not considering an EV included initial cost, the cost of a home charger, travel range limits, and the availability of charging stations.
In 2022, we will evaluate options to encourage EV usage among parishioners, taking the response from the survey into account.
Overall, despite the COVID – 19 Pandemic, it has been a successful year, with significant progress. We acknowledge that this was possible only because of the support and engagement of our committed and enthusiastic volunteers, our partners, our congregation, and its leaders. Our thanks to you all! The investment of time, talent and treasure by St. Jude’s pays a significant dividend in the lives of many fellow Children of God who are facing the daily challenge of food insecurity.