Mission and Outreach at Rowntree ( updated Jan 2023)
Mission and Outreach, both local and global, is an integral part of Rowntree’s ministry.
Mission and Service Fund of the United Church
We are committed to the United Church of Canada’s Mission and Service fund; the focus is on human rights, social justice, peace initiatives, locally, nationally and globally. The fund is typically around $30 million. Find link to Mission and Service’s ‘ M & S at a glance ‘ . In 2021 Rowntree contributed $16,751.00 to this fund.
One long running project is our Christmas Hamper project and 2022 was no exception. We had 56 adults and 18 children registered for the 40 hampers. We also had a waiting list of 12 families and will provide gifts for them as well – gift cards have been purchased from Dundas Street Centre United Church to be inserted in the hampers – the needs are great and we are grateful for the congregation’s support and donations Thanks to all who donated.
Tuesday Evening Meal
Scott Woolford had an idea to offer a meal program, and with many other people, this project got off the ground on March 5, 1996 at Robinson United. The first night 14 volunteers came out, but unfortunately no guests! As the years passed, the need grew though and by November 2010, when Robinson closed, there had been 49,106 people served.
In December, 2010 the meal transferred to Rowntree, although a huge snow storm cancelled the meal on the 7th, so the first night was the 14th. The first year at Rowntree, the meal served 3,587.
The meal consists of two types of hearty soups; hamburger bean, the most popular or chicken and rice with bread, crackers, celery and carrots with cold and hot drinks and cookies.
With Covid the meal continued but had to move to take-out. The menu changed to a rotation of soup and sandwiches with veggies, cookies and hot and cold drinks available.
As of 2022 the cost to run the meal is $2.72 per guest which has increased somewhat due to more packaging needed for take-out. A large part of the funding for the meal comes from money transferred from Robinson. Money also has come from the Bank Of Montreal employees, from the U.C.W. ( United Church Women) at Robinson, London Lawyers Feed the Hungry fund, neighbours and from our congregation.
The meal could not run without volunteers; and we are grateful to many; in particular Western students, and nearby high school students, people from our church other church’s and some non-church members . We are unusual in that we do not close down in the summer . The time spent helping is enlightening for our volunteers too ; the guests range from young to old, from nearby to not so close, and relationships are formed over the years; there is more than a meal exchanged here.
Attendance varies considerably; in 2014 we served a total of 3955 guests, in 2021, with take-out, that figure dropped to 1837. Since the dinner began in 1996, it has served 81,505 guests as of Dec 2021!
We can always use help, monetary or manual, so if you feel moved to help our efforts, we’d appreciate that. Please call the church office; 519-432-8075 or mail a cheque to Tuesday Dinner, Rowntree Church, 156 Elliott St, London, On, N5Y 2E9
Thanks to Joanne Hamilton, the Chief Cook, Bottle Washer and organizer of the Tuesday meal program.
Welcome Wednesday meal
In Sept 2019 the weekly meal that was hosted by the local Salvation Army, known as the “Welcome Wednesdays” transferred to us. It typically has about 35 guests per time. This meal is put on by a group of north-east London church’s ( ELUCO, Rowntree, Siloam United, and Valleyview Mennonite ) who take-turns making the lunch, our building hosts the equipment ie fridges and food etc and we work the first Wednesday of the month. Presently we are searching for a volunteer to head this needy program. * Note – as of March 2020, this meal is take-out only, due to Covid restrictions.
We are one of the original members of the East London United Church Outreach cluster of churches. As well as providing financial support, we participate in ELUCO’s fundraising endeavours.
In the fall we typically run the “Fill A Back Pack” project, where we ask for the donation of various school supplies – back packs, lunch boxes, pencil cases, notebooks, markers and crayons. We will collect these until mid August and then turn them over to the ELUCO Community Worker for distribution to needy families in NorthEast London. With Covid for 2021 there was no collection of backpacks but Rowntree did send $200 to help.
Also- the first Sunday of the month we ask our congregation to bring in non-perishable food items that get delivered to the ELUCO food cupboard – in Gethsemane Gardens, corner of Sandford and Huron in London.
The ELUCO food cupboard is a busy spot – in 2019 it served 504 families, 865 adults and 348 children. Rowntree’s own garden supplied 50 lbs of potatoes last fall and 320 lbs of produce was donated at Thanksgiving. Thank-You for your donations of food and dollars to help sustain this project.
A video clip to tell some of the things ELUCO does
There is much more that ELUCO does in the east end of London…. for more info go to their web site at http://www.eluco.ca/
Each summer Camp Kee-Mo-Kee, located in Komoka, just west of London, welcomes hundreds of campers to their site to experience all that summer camp presents. From campers, to Leaders in Training, Counsellors in Training, and then as part of their Summer Camp Team, Kee-Mo-Kee encourages children and youth to be their best, explore new opportunities and develop into leaders, both at camp and in the community. Rowntree sponsored children to the tune of $1,175 for 2019.
Other Projects supported
Ark-Aid Street Mission, London East – $400. and LUSO ( Community services for snacks and summer programs) – $300. Milk bags are collected to make sleeping mats for people in developing countries. Eye glasses are collected to send to local optometrists who support humanitarian eye care.