St. Paul’s Social Services Report

During 2016 St. Paul’s Social Services (SPSS) provided hot lunches at the drop-in lunch program, food bank support, community gardening, Reflection and Prayer Hour, food skills programming and Christmas Share support for people living in poverty. During this past year, SPSS was intentional about increasing community and skill development within our programs by offering community gardening, food skills and Reflection and Prayer. We continue to hold kindness, respect, community and generousity as core values for all we do at SPSS.

Highlights during 2016:

  • We served 23,308 people through our Daily Bread Food Bank (DB), Fellowship Centre (FC) lunch program, Reflection and Prayer, Garden Buddy Program and Christmas Share (CS) program.
  • We provided Compassionate Presence (CP) training through the London Anglican Deanery’s focus on poverty initiative for volunteers and staff within the Deanery, and some volunteers at SPSS.  This third training complements two CP trainings in 2015 for 25 SPSS volunteers.
  • Generous donations of produce from market vendors, churches and individuals supported the DB in providing produce every weekday to people seeking food bank support, for a period of six months, at no cost. During the remaining six months of 2016, some of the produce was purchased and this stock was well supplemented by ongoing produce donations.
  • SPSS received funding from the City of London to support the 2016 Garden Buddy Program; and quarterly meetings and skill training for SPSS Compassionate Presence volunteers.

St. Paul’s Social Services is blessed with a team of 98 exceptional volunteers that enable this ministry to provide welcoming, caring and informed support to the thousands of people who seek food support and programming here each year. Many of our volunteers are active in more than one program at SPSS. We are so grateful for their heartfelt service. Our annual fund raiser, Soup & Sandwich, and the Board of Trustees are also supported almost entirely by volunteers. In 2016 SPSS volunteers contributed over 8,964 hours of direct service to clients at SPSS. This number doesn’t include the many hours that Board of Trustees members contribute during Board, other meetings and preparation, or the hours contributed by those who plan and implement our annual fund raiser.

 

Program Details:

The Daily Bread Food Bank (DBFB) The DBFD continues to provide a three-day food supply to those in need, five weekday mornings each week.  Now in a maintenance stage after changes introduced over three years ago with the Strategic Plan, the DBFB provides fresh produce daily to all recipients, purchases only foods complementary to Canada’s Food Guide and offers listening support and referral as requested by those using the food bank, through the Compassionate Presence volunteers.  DBFB staff and volunteers have created a welcoming and caring environment for all who use this service.  During 2016, DBFB served 13,390 individuals, of whom approximately 40% were children. This number reflects an increase from 2015, when 12,449 individuals were served.

The Fellowship Centre (FC) The Fellowship Centre continued to offer nutritious lunches through the support of its hard working volunteer teams and one staff in 2016.  In 2015 these teams began to be successfully led by volunteer co-leads.   From January to August 19 2016, drop-in lunches were served every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Then, following a two week shut down at the FC due to a staff change-over, the FC re-opened in September offering lunches on Monday and Wednesday only.  This change was in response to long standing annual operating deficits at the Fellowship Centre. It is hoped that with reduced programming, the FC will operate closer to a balanced budget in 2017. The FC served 9,542 lunches in 2016.  This number is lower than in 2015 by about 2,400 and is related to the shut down and reduced days of lunch programming during the last four months of 2016. Each lunch day, Compassionate Presence volunteers visited people who came for lunch at the FC, enhancing everyone’s sense of community and building relationships with those who seek conversation or support.

The Breaking Bread Together (BBT) food skills program was offered twice weekly from January to July in 2016. Then, with a planned summer break (due to poor attendance during summer 2015), BBT was offered one day a week, with a revised six-week program model requiring registration rather than the former drop-in model. These changes were made in an effort to increase attendance at BBT, and the six week session offered in the fall did result in increased attendance, with each day closer to the 10 participants BBT can accommodate.  As in 2015, BBT operated for about 7 months, but served 33 more lunches for a total of 262 lunches in 2016.

St. Paul’s Social Services BBT program is grateful to be the recipient of The City of London Community Grants Program for 2017 – 2019. We look forward to this opportunity to continue to develop this food skills and relationship building program, beginning in January 2017.  

Christmas Share (CS) In 2015 the Christmas Share program did not receive enough donations to cover the cost of gift cards for all of its recipients. Due to this donation deficit, the planning team reduced the targeted number of intakes from 155 to 100 for 2016. The CS program is planned with our community partners, most notably the Salvation Army’s (SA) Christmas Hamper program.  The SPSS Christmas Share program makes effort to serve individuals that have limited ability to stand in line at the SA for the time required, due to disabilities; and to serve families with children over 12 years of age that would not be served by the SA program.  The SPSS Christmas Share program served 201 people through 97 intakes in 2016.  

Garden Buddy Program (GBP) SPSS had a successful first year with its Garden Buddy Program.  This program supported 15 people: one individual and three families.  Offered with the support of a Master Gardener, several other volunteers and SPSS staff; participants planned, cared for and harvested their own gardens. All but one of the participants had never vegetable gardened before. Garden Buddy participants reported many positive results from this program, including: 1) improved diet; 2) new relationships; 3) new knowledge about and skills related to vegetable gardening; and 4) reduced food costs. The City of London funded the garden program through their 2016 Community Grants program.

Reflection and Prayer SPSS held a clergy-facilitated hour of reflection and prayer each week during most of 2016. Participation ranged from 3 to 8 participants, averaging about 4 people each session.  The sessions were deeply meaningful and those attending reported considerable benefit from this quiet, sacred and reflective time together. Thank you to the five clergy who guided us through these spirit nourishing sessions.

Financial Summary During 2016, SPSS received $243,929.00 in donations from all sources. This compares to $336,494.49 in 2015 and $273,998.12 in 2014.  Total donations received in 2015 were higher than usual due to a one time, large bequest. We also received 1,880 units (24 case beer size boxes) of food, down slightly from 2,017 units received in 2015.

Respectfully Submitted, Lynn Prentice, Executive Director (resigned effective December 31, 2016)







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