Drop In Mission & History
The Food Access/Drop-In Program is a daily program that provides support to individuals who need assistance. The Drop-In provides free access to healthy meals, phone, fax and internet, informative and skill-based workshops, shower and laundry facilities, volunteer opportunities and personal support for community members, especially for homeless, low-income and other vulnerable community members. Many of the community members who participate in the Food Access/Drop-In Program are facing numerous life challenges including recent immigration, physical and mental health issues, addictions, abuse, isolation, unemployment and a lack of life skills such as financial management.
Approximately 90% of Drop-In participants using our services are new to Canada and experiencing isolation, unemployment, issues with housing, legal support, health care access, discrimination, and other difficulties due to linguistic or cultural barriers. Through ESL support, counseling and referrals, and our various programs, newcomers and their families are able to access services and navigate social systems more easily. Many people volunteer for the Drop-In as a means of forming supportive relationships, sharing valuable life experiences, identifying with other immigrant people, becoming familiar with the English language and Canadian culture, gaining local work experience, and obtaining a sense of ownership in their new community.
The Food Access Program provides weekly free food items to single parent families who are facing serious food security issues. The Sole-Support Food Bank provides weekly food, including cooking essentials and fresh produce whenever possible for an often overlooked vulnerable population. Food bank items are provided by The Daily Bread Food Bank, Second Harvest, Karma Co-Op, the Salvation Army and other generous community members. Christie Ossington Neighbourhood Centre also coordinates donations of clothing, shoes, diapers, baby food, housewares, toiletries, toys and other items for local families, increasing their sense of hope and allowing them to sustain funds for essential rent, work-related costs, and health-related costs.
The Community Kitchen Nutrition Program allows community members from diverse linguistic, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds to connect, share experiences, and gain new awareness. Cooking skills are shared and gained in an inclusive environment while preparing nutritious meals for Drop-In participants. The Community Kitchen is an excellent social networking opportunity and many volunteers who participate in the program do so for more then a year.
The program also links participants to new volunteering opportunities within Christie Ossington Neighbourhood Centre. The Centre engages 750 people every year in volunteer tasks that benefit program participants and our local community while contributing valuable skills and experiences to the lives of volunteers who are often new to Canada and learning English as a second language.