This year marks a milestone for the Community Care organization as they are celebrating their centennial anniversary. Since 1919, Community Care has acted on their mission of assisting those in the community who are in need, striving to support them in achieving self-sufficiency.
Community Care is offered in St. Catharines and Thorold and helps those in need of food, shelter, support and emergency services. These services aid in giving clients the independence they need in order to achieve their goals and to be successful.
The organization began as a small group that provided food and clothing assistance to a community stricken by World War I. Community Care’s Communications and Special Events Coordinator Rhiannon Fleming acknowledges the significance of the war and how it helped to develop the organization into what it is today.
“In 1919, the war had ended and life was struggling to return to normal. For a lot of families that wouldn’t be the case though. A new economy and workforce, returning veterans and a lack of employment was creating a large problem for those trying to make ends meet,” said Fleming. “Leone Taylor, the founding member of Community Care, decided to help the hungry the only way she knew how, by feeding them. She would cook soup daily, distributing it throughout the community, and fed approximately 400 families. Leone always had a pot of soup on her stove.”
Community Care offers a variety of services for the community which include: food banks, community gardens, housing supports, a youth trusteeship program, medical/dental/vision care, clothing and household goods, the Snacks and Sneakers back to school program, birthday and laundry programs, among several other initiatives.
Community Care strives to provide the best services possible every day of the week but when the holidays come around, they work particularly hard to show their clients how loved and deserving they are of time spent with their families and friends. Providing support with dignity is an important value to the organization.
“We are coming off an extremely busy Christmas season where we helped over 13,000 individuals in St. Catharines and Thorold have food on their table and an extra or two to make their season bright,” said Fleming. “All of this was done while continuing to provide our 21 programs and regular services.”
Community Care provides individuals the chance to get involved in the community and to offer support to those in need. Some upcoming events that provide opportunities for aspiring volunteers to lend a hand are the 19th Annual Mayor’s Breakfast and Toque Tuesday.
Toque Tuesday takes place on Feb. 5 and runs from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. This event is hosted in order to raise awareness for youth homelessness in this community in partnership with Raising the Roof, a national organization that seeks to end homelessness. In order to support Raising the Roof, Community Care sells toques, with the proceeds going towards funding a variety of programs within the community. Those who purchase a toque also receive a free pancake breakfast.
“Throughout our 100 years, the organization has grown and changed to meet the needs of those most vulnerable in our community. It is through the caring and initiative of those before us that have given us the legs to stand on to do the work we do now,” said Fleming.
To find out about all the programs offered by Community Care, gain further information about the work they do for the community and search for opportunities to get involved, visit www.commuitycarestca.ca.