St. Matthew’s House – Fall 2021 Newsletter

Oct 20, 2021 | Media, Press Releases

This mural by Kyle Joedicke in our window is our way to honour the children lost at former residential school sites, and a commitment to learning more, doing better and teaching the children in our care that they matter.

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Message from our Executive Director

When I reflect on giving thanks this year, I can’t help but think of St. Matthew’s House legacy. For over 50 years it has provided essential support to those in need, often helping many to move on to a better place. I also reflect on the St. Matthew’s House community and give thanks to all of you for helping us stay focused on the needs of others, especially now, with COVID-19 impacting vulnerable people sodeeply. Without your help, we couldn’t have kept up with the demand that this has placed on our services and programs for seniors since March 2020. With the pandemic now in a fourth wave, so many older adults in the lower city of Hamilton are still in need of food, housing and income security supports. 

With your financial support, you help provide: 

  • A Seniors First Response Team, which delivers emergency food, household and hygiene support monthly to older adults. 
  • The HOPES Team (Housing Outreach Preventing Eviction for Seniors), which focuses on eviction prevention support for older adults.HOPES ensure that tenant rights are supported and housing is safe, accessible and affordable. 
  • A Crisis Coordinator who is able to quickly respond to crisis calls for emergency food, housing and income or legal supports for older adults. Often this Coordinator helps to access community resources to address the immediate crisis. 
  • Seniors in Kitchens (SinKs), an in-person and virtual program for older adults, which addresses longer-term goals of food security for seniors in the lower city. It works in collaboration with others to offer a mobile market providing free fresh food at downtown pop-up locations. We also run a Virtual Seniors Centre, offering a way to connect with others in these times of isolation, shared by so many as a result of COVID-19. 
  • A Homelessness Outreach Program in partnership with the City of Hamilton’s Housing Division. We work together to support people who live rough, are homeless and are in need of shelter and other supports. 

All of this work takes time – to build relationships, gain trust and offer the right kind of support. Just this week, a regular donor reached out to offer support. She wrote this: 

You pointed out that the needs in the city are even greater now. Thank God there are people like you and agencies like St. Matt’s House that not only identify what and where the needs are, but focus on doing something to address those needs and elevate people in body, mind and spirit. Keep going! “

Because of you, we can keep going! This Thanksgiving, please remember St. Matthew’s House and the work we do when you support us financially. With your gift, we can make thanksgiving a daily practice – not just an annual time of reflection and giving. Thank you for helping us do that. 

Renée Wetselaar

Executive Director

Children’s Centre

Fall is a time of big transitions at St. Matthew’s Children’s Centre. We say goodbye to our Preschool graduates as they head off to Kindergarten, and hello to new students and families in our Infant, Toddler, Preschool programs. Assad as it is for our educators to see them go (some of whom have been with us since they were infants) they are also proud to have been a part of their growth and development into bright and competent school-age children. Our staff team participates in ongoing professional development through workshops and training opportunities. 

The unforgettable connection that the children and teachers share was evident at the graduation ceremony held in woodlands Park. Teachers were able to see some of their past students, and former Manager Angela Dauda, our distinguished guest, entertained us with her stories. Angela continues to contribute to our community through the Angela Dauda Fund, which was created in her honour to help children and families in the St. Matthew’s area. 

On September 30th, the first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, we honoured Indigenous community members by wearing orange shirts that read Every Child Matters. Educators also led the children in Indigenousactivities throughout the day and will include such activities and teachings in the future. In the spirit of thanksgiving, the centre hosted a special lunch with turkey and all the trimmings, and October 22 is Early ChildhoodEducator Appreciation Day – a day to reflect on the importance of the SMCC team. Another celebration to look forward to is Hallowe’en when the children will get dressed up and tour the centre for trick or treating. 

The past 18 months have been a challenging time for everyone, Yet, the staff have gone above and beyond to make the children’s experience as normal and enriching as possible. We also owe a very special thanks to our families as we are honoured to take care of your children! They are our first priority and we couldn’t do our jobs without your constant cooperation and support. Thank you. 

Enza Guddemi

RECE Supervisor

Seniors Program

Lately, when SMH community partners and funders ask me about our Seniors Programs, I describe our agency as a “boutique”. A boutique is defined as a “small company that offers high-quality specialized services”. In the year since I joined SMH, I have witnessed the SeniorsProgram teamwork without complaint to shift, tailor and grow services for our clients. Team members even found time to do what may arguably be the most important part of the job, which is to build trust and relationships with clients. These connections resulted in increased successful client outcomes and created pathways that enable clients to inform us with their expertise. SMH provides the human connection and personal touch that ripples out well past the time we close a file. 

SMH does not operate in a silo. Our teams in eviction prevention, crisis, emergency food, food security outreach and childcare work together with ease and levity, relying on each other’s expertise, support, and creativity. We value and foster relationships with partners, interacting daily with income support experts, healthcare workers, front-line shelter workers and outreach workers, food security champions, legal professionals, evaluation coaches, donors, students and the list doesn’t stop there. We know our friends are exhausted, and sometimes we are too, but each day via phone, or yet another virtual meeting, we continue to be inspired by the dedication in the fight to improve the lives of Hamilton’s older adults. 

For this Boutique and these heroes, we are grateful. 

Colleen Jones 

Director of Operations (Formerly the Manager of Seniors Programs) 

Adopt a Family/Senior Holiday Program

We are already getting excited about the upcoming holiday season. The way the Adopt a Family/Senior Holiday Program community gave back last year was simply incredible! In spite of Covid, every family andSenior on our list was adopted and then some! That meant more than700 households in our community enjoyed a holiday meal and were surprised by some unbelievable gifts from all of you! And because of that, we could take on extra appointments and put together fantastic hampers for the Emergency Appointments that came to us at the last minute. The families and seniors felt the love and spent their holidays reminded that we were there for them through the hardships and the joys. This would not have been possible without your support and generosity.

If you have any questions or are interested in sponsoring a family or senior this holiday season, please feel free to reach out to us or call 905-523-5546 ext. 260 for any more information. 

We are so excited for this upcoming holiday season. It has only been because of you, your team, friends and family that we make it bigger and better every year. 

Madeleine Bond 

Adopt a Family/Senior Holiday Program

Three Ways to Donate

In-PersonOnlineBy Phone
Drop off or mail a donation to:
414 Barton St. E.
Hamilton, ON L8L 2Y3
Make an online donation:
Donate Now
Call us: (905) 523-5546
x. 230

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