For Beach United Church, involvement in the Out of the Cold program has been a long-standing indication of our concern for people that are homeless and hungry in our community. Beach United housed the overnight shelter on a weekly basis during the renovation at St Aidan’s Anglican Church. But with the COVID-19 pandemic we were unable to continue to offer shelter to overnight guests since March of 2020.
Since that time, Team Leaders and Coordinators have been struggling with how to continue to respond to the needs of people who are homeless and vulnerable. Out of the Cold programs across the city have a shared experience:
- People continue to be committed to helping.
- In the absence of the overnight program, the energy has shifted to providing food.
- As was the case with the Out of the Cold program, much of the food will go to people who are vulnerable but are not necessarily homeless.
Beach United and the St. Aidan’s Out of the Cold Program continued to provide hot meals for people through the Drop-in at Teesdale Place and through deliveries to encampments downtown.
Now that renovations at St. Aidan’s are nearing completion, the Out of the Cold program will return there beginning in November. While overnight shelter will still not be possible, hot meals will be provided each Monday evening, prepared and served by volunteers from both churches and the wider community.
In addition to this effort, Beach United Church will continue to explore ways in which we can, both individually and collectively, support people in our community that are in need. Some of the options are:
- Providing a hot lunch every Thursday at Beach United, as our contribution to the Beach Interfaith Outreach Committee.
- Food banks across the City are seeing more people coming for food than at any time in the past. Donations of non-perishable food can be left at any Toronto Fire Hall for pick up by the Daily Bread Food Bank.
- Our Community Pantry, in the garden outside the church, provides a place where people can drop off canned and packaged food to be available for those who need food.
Please consider how you are best able to support any of these initiatives. If you are interested in continuing to contribute to initiatives of the Out of the Cold, please let us know and we will keep you informed as needs are identified. firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your longstanding commitment to meeting the needs of people in our community that are homeless and vulnerable!