EVENT CALENDAR

Every Sunday: Soup Kitchen at “Our Place” – Victoria, B.C.

4th Saturday of every month: Quest Food Exchange – Vancouver, B.C.

Annual: Education Bursaries for Disadvantaged Youth

Soup Kitchen – Georgetown Bread Basket, ON: Second Wednesday and last Saturday of every month

Soup Kitchen - Mission Bon Accueil, Montreal: October 1, November 5 and December 3


OUR FORTHCOMING EVENTS

Soup Kitchen – Quebec: Amma Quebec will be organizing soup kitchens at Mission Bon Accueil.   For more information please contact coeurti@msn.com

Soup Kitchen – Victoria: Our volunteers in Victoria, organize soup kitchens EVERY SUNDAY for a non profit organization called “Our Place”. Volunteers help by making sandwiches, peeling and chopping vegetables, and assisting with other food preparation; sanitizing and setting tables; serving the meal; and then helping with clean-up. For more information please contact patclare@shaw.ca

Quest Food Exchange program – Vancouver: Quest is British Columbia’s largest food exchange program. Their innovative approach to rescuing food and reducing hunger involves collecting and distributing quality food – overstock, mislabelled, or near-expired products that would otherwise go to waste – and redirecting it to those in need via four food-assistance programs. Our volunteers in Vancouver participate in the activities of Quest food exchange program in the fourth saturday of every month.

Soup Kitchen – Georgetown: The monthly soup kitchen held at Georgetown Bread Basket is proceeding well. Vegetarian chilli and fresh bread and pastries are served to about seventy clients of the Bread Basket. It is a matter of great satisfaction to hear that the hot lunch is well appreciated.

Farming – Georgetown: The farm activities have started in right earnest and there is a lot of weeding and harvesting to be done in the vegetable garden. There is also work to be done in the fruit orchard. If you would like to participate please advise sri1960@gmail.com indicating your availability.

Volunteers – Georgetown: There are a lot of opportunities for volunteering at the Bennett Health Care Centre in Georgetown, during weekdays as well as the weekends. If you are interested, please contact ammacanadaoutreach@gmail.com


FARM  PRODUCE  FOR CHARITIES

Amma Canada has been donating naturally grown and chemical free vegetables, organic apples, pears and honey from the property at 9158 Trafalgar Road, Georgetown to the following charitable organizations in the Georgetown area:

–          Feeding Halton

–          Acton Food Share

–          Grace United Church

Feeding Halton is a collaboration of social service agencies and the agricultural community intent on ensuring equitable access to local fruits and vegetables for all.  The collaboration consists of: Food for Life, Halton Fruit Tree Project, Halton Food for Thought, Halton Fresh Food Box, Open Doors at St. Christopher’s, Farmer Representation and the Halton Region Federation of Agriculture.  Feeding Halton works with the local growers to identify opportunities for purchase by or donation to hunger relief organizations.  Donations made from the community are picked up by Food for Life and distributed to the Halton Hills/ Milton community right after pickup.  These donations help Food for Life to provide around 190,000 meals each month to children, seniors, families and other individuals in the Halton community.

Acton Food Share. Is a  weekly food bank, located in a small storefront,  which serves the needs of the Acton Community, They serve over 130 families per month.

Grace United Church, where a community dinner is held on the first Thursday of the month, reaching out to 70-80 families and seniors in the Milton community. Apples will be used for apple pies at the dinner and distributed to participants.

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Acton Community Kitchen

From February to May 2016, volunteers from Amma Canada participated in a series of eight vegetarian cooking classes as part of an initiative by Summit Housing and Acton Community Kitchen. Summit Housing is a non-profit organization which provides supportive housing, case management and advocacy to those with diagnosed mental illness and at risk in the community. The cooking classes were intended to help teach a small group of lower income families to prepare simple and healthy meals on a low-cost budget. The volunteers conducted cooking demonstration classes and at the end of the session, the participants, including the volunteers, sat down to enjoy the meal. The extra food was taken home by the participating families.  In all, over 240 meals were shared among the participants. The cost of the items for the meals was covered by Amma Canada.

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SUPPORT FOR WHM

Welcome Hall Mission [WHM] is a well known and respected charity in Montreal, Québec where it was established around 120 years ago to help men with alcohol addictions. It is a registered Canadian charity (CRA registration number 10819 5215 RR0001). They have come a long way in terms of number and scope of charitable activities.

In 2010 WHM developed a program called “Cœur à sœur” as they witnessed a great need to help the homeless young women.The young women, ranging in age from 15 to 30, were often pregnant, in need of education around many aspects of pregnancy and life there-after, including the preparation of healthy food, basic health services, planning for the baby’s birth and preparation to become good and capable mothers. This education included the financial aspect to ensure they could care for their child so Government agencies wouldn’t have any reason to take their children away. For the children, the charity provides basic needs and services, education and educational materials, guidance, follow-up supervision as they integrate into society, etc.

Today (i.e.September 2016), WHM has 209 young women with children and 166 young women without children under their umbrella of Hope.
Their plan for the coming four years calls for 250 to 300 women to be added to those figures above, i.e. they anticipate having over 1,000 files by that time.

It is a heart-warming sight to see how many babies now are born in a secure shelter with qualified assistance. Many if not most of the babies are seen every few months to ensure their growth and safety, as are their mothers. Many are followed for several years after their birth.

The spiritual guidelines of WHM are that no one religion be given preference, that all are welcome under the umbrella of LOVE.

Since 2007, Volunteers from the Montreal group (of Amma Canada) have been preparing and serving a Saturday lunch once a month in the soup kitchen at WHM, known by the French name Mission Bon Accueil. Between 150 and 200 servings are made each time.

WHM is efficiently managed with money spent only on necessities. Their overhead is 7% of total budget. A good number of their workers come from their own programs.

In September 2016, Amma Canada entered into an agreement with WHM to support the “Cœur à sœur” program by donating the sum of $40000.00 in four installments of $10000.00 every quarter.

 


TREE PLANTING – 2016

As in the previous ten years,  volunteers from Amma Canada participated in various tree and shrub planting events in the Brampton, Georgetown and the Greater Toronto area from April to October. These projects, organized by environmental groups such as Credit Valley Conservation, Friends of Cedarvale,  Eglinton Flats, Black Creek Farm, Taylor Creek Park, Newcastle Park, etc. were well attended by our volunteers.  

Amma Canada is very grateful to the Brampton City Parks for giving us an opportunity to assist with tree planting of seventy-five saplings in Newcastle Park in September.   Amma Canada adopted Newcastle park in 2004.

 

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Annual picnic with children from St.Felix Centre

Each year, since 2009, Amma Canada has sponsored an outing for about thirty to thirty five  children of St. Felix Centre, a registered non-profit organization located in downtown Toronto. The children ranging in age from  5 to 11 were  from the neediest of families in the low income neighbourhood . Over the years, the children have been taken on on the picnics to the Niagara Falls, African Safari Park, Legoland, Toronto Zoo and such locations. The children have been accompanied by staff and volunteers from St. Felix Centre and volunteers from Amma Canada . On June 11, 2016 the children were taken to Toronto Centre Island and Centreville Amusement Park. Amma Canada provided red t-shirts and caps, while the children enjoyed a picnic lunch, amusement rides, snacks, pizza and loot bags ! The St.Felix children had a  great day and later on, they made a “thank-you” poster fro Amma Canada , displaying all their hand-prints and wrote on the back : “Dear  Amma, Thank you for your continued support and act of love. Luv, Always, from the staff and kids at St.Felix ! “

 

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ST.FELIX  ECWA program

 Since 2013, St. Felix Centre has operated the Extreme Cold Weather Alert (ECWA) program between November 15 and April 15, offering shelter, meals, washrooms, showers, laundry facilities, and individual support services to people living on the streets of downtown Toronto. . Between December 15 and March 15, when the weather is coldest, St. Felix Centre remains continuously open, providing services 24h a day, seven days a week. During this period, St. Felix Centre is stretched to capacity: though they only have spaces for 50 overnight guests, their numbers often exceeded 60, and still more people were turned away. Though St. Felix Centre had budgeted to feed 100 people per night during the dinner program, the number of people fed often exceeded 200, exhausting their resources and staff.

 This winter, Amma Canada supported St. Felix’s ECWA program by providing volunteers for the meal program. In total, twelve Amma Canada volunteers participated in the lunch and dinner programs, preparing and plating food, serving coffee and tea, clearing tables, washing and drying dishes, and cleaning the kitchen. The volunteers generally worked on different shifts, according to their schedules, and integrated with the team of St. Felix staff and volunteers working that shift.

In early January, some of the Amma Canada volunteers working in the ECWA meal program reported that food served was insufficient to satisfy the hunger of the participants. Amma Canada responded by donating $500/week to St. Felix Centre for the purchase of additional foodstuffs to supplement the meals for the duration of the ECWA program. These funds were used to “obtain fresh and high quality [food] items in bulk quantities.

Amma Canada further supported the ECWA program by donating much needed goods that would otherwise have gone to waste. Amma Canada ran a winter clothing drive at their Georgetown centre, and donated fifteen large bags of men’s used clothing and footwear, and toiletries of all kinds to St. Felix’s Clothing Bank. The donated items were distributed among the needy people who were happy to receive them. . Finally, Amma Canada collected from the Georgetown Bread Basket ten cases of non-perishable food items that were approaching their expiry date and donated them to St. Felix’s kitchen, where they were quickly used in a day or two. With this action, Amma Canada was able to both help feed the hungry and prevent food waste.

On the whole, Amma Canada’s involvement in St. Felix Centre’s ECWA program has been a great success, and has undoubtedly helped many people living on the streets of downtown Toronto this winter. Amma Canada’s volunteers look forward to participating in the ECWA again next year, and deepening our partnership in service with St. Felix Centre.

St. Felix staff holding bags of donated used clothing and toiletries for distribution in St. Felix’s Clothing Bank

Food purchased by St. Felix Centre’s meal program using funds donated by Amma Canada

Amma Canada volunteers working in St. Felix Centre’s meal program

Food served in St. Felix Centre’s meal program

Amma Canada volunteers delivering food from Georgetown Bread Basket to St. Felix kitchen

 


 

Soup kitchen at Mission Bon Accueil

Once a month, from March 2007 onwards, around ten volunteers from the Montreal area have been supplying the groceries and preparing lunch for close to two hundred homeless people, at a registered charity known as Mission Bon Accueil, or Welcome Hall Mission. Also, during the Christmas season, the volunteers donate toys, socks and clothing to the children who are clients of the Mission Bon Accueil.
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Soup kitchen at Georgetown Bread Basket

Started in June 2009, the soup kitchen has been operating once a month, with the volunteers preparing vegetarian chilli at the certified kitchen at 9158 Trafalgar Road and serving the chilli and bread to the clients of the Georgetown Bread Basket. On an average sixty-five to seventy servings are made each time. Since June 2016 the frequency of soup kitchens has been increased to twice a month

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Bennett Health Care Centre

From mid-2014, a small group of dedicated volunteers has been visiting residents at the Bennett Health Care Centre, a registered, non-profit long term care facility for 68 residents, on Saturdays and when available, during some weekdays.   They assist with friendly visiting, arts and crafts, bingo, running the snack/book cart and feeding of the residents.

In February 2015, ten residents in wheelchairs were taken on an outing to Ripley’s Aquarium in downtown Toronto. The picnic was so enjoyable to the residents, the staff and volunteers from Bennett and Amma Canada that it was decided to do another picnic in 2016.

 

Outing to Niagara Falls

On February 29th, 2016 Amma Canada volunteers accompanied nine Bennett Health Care Centre residents in wheelchairs,  along with their volunteers and staff (Georgetown) on the highly anticipated trip to Niagara Falls.Sponsored by Amma Canada, this year’s outing consisted of lunch at one of the restaurants overlooking the falls followed by a bus tour of the falls . Although the day was cloudy, windy and very cold, it did not dampen the spirits of those present.  Laughter, conversation and good cheer filled the dining area as we sat and ate together.

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Music Therapy Program:

Amma Canada is pleased to sponsor a 40 hour music therapy program, to enrich the lives of the residents at this long term care centre.  An accredited music therapist will work with all the residents, both in small groups and with individuals, using piano, guitar, small percussion and chimes. The benefits of music therapy include improved memory recall and social interactions; help to alleviate depression and aid with stress management.  The sessions will run from September to December 2016.

 Amma Canada sponsors Olympic event for Residents.  

Over a two week period in August, a series of participative games, ring toss, word games and crafts were organized for the residents to coincide with the Rio Olympics.  This was a fun event, concluding with prizes and Olympic cakes for the winners and all the residents who participated!

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Haiti Project

Fondation QHASUQ (Quebec-Haiti pour une Scolarisation Universelle de Quebec)  is  a registered Canadian charitable organization, working with GRAHN, an entity set up to address the rebuilding efforts of Haiti, after a powerful earthquake,  measuring 7.00 on the Richter scale,  struck Haiti  in January 2010 resulting in the death of  more than 230,000 people and  extensive destruction estimated at  billions of dollars.


BURSARIES FOR DISADVANTAGED YOUTH

Each year, starting in 2012, Amma Canada has been supporting the Peel Children’s Aid Foundation (PCAF) by awarding bursaries to deserving youth who have been wards of the PCAF. The bursaries enable the recipients to pursue courses at a university or community college. Three bursaries were awarded to such promising students in 2015, the recipients being selected by the PCAF on the basis of their academic record and motivation.


 Christmas 2016

Here is a brief report (in their own words) from the provinces of British Columbia, Quebec, and Ontario showing how the volunteers in those regions  participated in the process of bringing some Christmas cheer to families in need.

TORONTO

On December 17th, volunteers gathered at the Toronto Centre to decorate the Christmas tree and participate in the spirit of giving, by wrapping 22 individual holiday gift bags for 10 sponsored families with the agency Links2Care.  Volunteers were each assigned a family and purchased  requested items, including pyjamas, socks, underwear, toiletries, and small gifts for each of the children, ranging in ages from 4 months to 16 years.  Gifts and tins of cookies were carefully assembled into 22 colourful felt Santa bags and delivered on Monday December 19th to the Georgetown office.  The Director and staff were thrilled to receive the bags and eager to distribute to the families for Christmas.

Amma  Canada sponsored 16 residents of the long term care facility Bennett Centre, who had no visitors over the Holiday season.  Volunteers thoughtfully assembled Santa bags, each containing a Sherpa blanket, Walmart gift cards, colourful scarves, books, slippers and other requested items on their Angel Wish list.  As a special gesture, a group of children crafted handmade Christmas cards, which were distributed to the delight of the residents.  Amma Canada volunteers also delivered a donation of toys to the Georgetown Salvation Army Toy Bank.

 

In a new initiative this year, Amma Canada partnered with both Georgetown Bread Basket and Acton Foodshare, to reach out to assist families in need in the Halton community over the Christmas season. A  total of 250 food/gift cards were distributed to families and individuals in the amount of $20 for a choice of 5 grocery chains in the community. Response from the staff and recipients has been very positive.“Thanks again for your support and for partnering with us on the gift cards. This generous and kind gesture had a profound impact on our families.” (Chair, GBB)    In addition, jars of Amma Canada honey, were offered to the recipients at the soup kitchen on December 14th at Georgetown Bread Basket.

This year Amma Canada supported the Peel Children’s Aid Foundation, by sponsoring 14 families for a Christmas Dinner on December 25th.    The dinner, organized by the Peel Children’s Aid Foundation, as part of their Holiday Giving Program, gave a chance for children and their families to enjoy a special Christmas meal together, including wrapped gifts, sweets, treats, gift cards and transportation to and from the event

QUEBEC

 Devotees prepared 165 dozens of cookies baked by 13 volunteers and distributed 329 sachets to 3 organizations (NPO). The sachets (except those for Dans la Rue) were beautifully decorated with handmade Christmas cards created by 10 other volunteers.

The sachets were given to :

  • Santropol Roulant:  meals-on-wheel organisation: 125 sachets for their beneficiaries
  • Dans la Rue: NPO for Homeless Youths: 150 sachets + 18 for their volunteers.
  • La Maison d’Hérelle: NPO supporting individual suffering from AIDS/HIV in the community: 18 sachets and 18 for their volunteers.

At St-Jean-sur Richelieu (South of Montreal), devotees baked 29 dozens of cookies and offered 58 sachets to :

  • La Maison Hina: Shelter for women victims of marital violence and their children)
  •        Two Youth Hostels

 

BRITISH COLUMBIA

Each year, ‘Presents of Peace’ is organized through the YWCA to provide families in need with funds for food at Christmas time, as well as gifts from the wish-lists of each family member. Volunteers from Vancouver (with sponsorship from Amma Canada) are able to shop for, wrap up, and deliver presents to a number of families each year through this program. This year, we were able to shop for 4 large families….The falling snow reminded us of Amma’s flowers of peace falling to the Earth…..

For all of us, it is a great way to start the holiday season, sharing Amma’s compassion and joy even in such a small way.

In Victoria, a volunteer made homemade chocolates and they were distributed to the homeless by our “Amma’s Kitchen” crew. The chocolates were well received ! In past years we have done many baskets with toques, scarves, gloves and sweets.