All posts by Noel

Backpacks for the Homeless

On Monday, February 26, the New Life Neighbourhood Centre in partnership with the Durham Region Ontario Homeschoolers joined together to provide backpacks for the homeless filled with necessities such as food, warm accessories and toiletry items. They met at Memorial Park and provided hot chocolate and treats for all as both children and their parents had the opportunity to talk with individuals of the community and provide them with 2 bags. It was a great opportunity for children and adults to understand what homelessness is like.

Thanks to all who participated.

A volunteer’s letter for Christmas Stockings

The following letter was written by Mistie Roberts in support of the Centre’s Christmas stocking drive that she and her family has done for over 20 years:

Dear Friends and Good-Hearted People!

My family and I have been working with the New Life Neighbourhood Center in Oshawa (a not-for-profit community service that operates a food bank and also provides Christmas hampers, etc. to needy families) for well over 20 years now with the Christmas program.

The part of the Christmas program we assist with, is purchasing items that we put into stockings for local children (newborn up to 21 years old). Most of the stockings go to children who have an illness and their families are struggling. Giving these children, a Christmas is an amazing feeling. For some, it is their last Christmas, for others it is the only present/stocking from Santa they will get this year.

We are looking for anything you would put in a stocking for a child. You probably have items in your home that never expire, and you are not using in your linen closet, nursery or bathroom cabinets collecting dust. Or small toys and books in your child’s room that have never been played with. UNUSED ITEMS ONLY PLEASE, e.g.:

  • books, small toys, stuffies, decks of cards, small board games, crayons, pencils, paper, crafts, colouring books, McDonalds toys
  • hats, mitts, socks, scarves, baby towels, sleepers, receiving blankets, rattles
  • perfume, lipstick, eyeshadow, nail polish, aftershave, toiletries
  • packs of batteries, cards, poker chips

I am asking you to take a look and see what’s in your home that is not needed and would be great for a stocking. If you could help out that would be AMAZING!! The most important thing I am asking is that you pass this letter on to other friends and family. Every new contact we get and every item we receive is dear to us and the children we help out.


If you are interested, please call or text me: Mistie Roberts – 905-922-0595. I can do porch pick-ups or whatever works for you!!

You can also help by donating funds to purchase items for the stockings. Make your cheque payable to the New Life Neighbourhood Centre and you will receive an Income Tax Receipt. Indicate “Stockings” in the memo area of your cheque. Or donate online.

Any assistance you can give will be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance for your generosity. You will have the joy that comes from knowing you have helped to make a difference in the life of a child in need this Christmas.

2015 Community BBQ

The annual Community BBQ was held on Saturday, August 8 and although rain threatened to dampen the spirits the day turned out great. Pastor Frank Dell’Erba of the New Life Church kicked things off by welcoming everyone. The praise band provided their usual excellent musical presentation.  There were interactive games and everyone had a great time together as they munched on the burgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob, and other goodies. Special guest in attendance included MPP Jennifer French, Mayor John Henry, Councillor Doug Sanders, Police Chief and Officers from Central East Division. Thanks to the many volunteers who helped to make the event this year a great success. Visit Snap Oshawa’s website for more pictures of the event.

Help us Help our Neighbours

Hunger is an ongoing challenge for many in Canada. According to Food Banks Canada’s Hunger Count report for 2014, over 840,000 Canadians turn to food banks every month. More than 36% of those were children. Oshawa is no exception and in many ways the numbers are greater compared to other communities across the country.

In 2014 the New Life Neighbourhood Centre continued its efforts to help the less fortunate in Oshawa and surrounding communities by providing services to as many clients as it could. For a small food bank it:

  • served 2236 pancake and continental breakfasts
  • distributed over 1200 personal hygiene packages
  • distributed 60 care packages to homeless individuals during the winter
  • distributed groceries to 366 households (1347 adults and 534 children)
  • served over  500 meals at our annual BBQ
  • served  over 350 meals at our Christmas Dinner
  • distributed over 300 toys and Christmas stockings

The people helped included families with children, employed people whose wages are not sufficient to cover basic living essentials, individuals on social assistance, and Canadians living on a fixed income including people with disabilities, and seniors. Thanks to all our volunteers, donors and supporters for helping us to make a difference for many who would otherwise go hungry.

The New Life Neighbourhood Centre is operated completely by volunteers and relies on the goodwill of donors and supporters for its operation. In order to continue providing the services we offer we conduct various food drives and food bank fundraising events.

You can help us help our less fortunate neighbours by:

  • donating money to purchase supplies for the food bank,
  • participating in our food drives,
  • sponsoring a family,
  • attending and supporting our fundraising events, or
  • volunteering your time at the Centre or at our events.



All of our staff are unpaid volunteers. Our volunteers come from the congregation of the New Life Seventh-day Adventist Church, as well as other faith communities, and concerned people in the Durham area. They all have in common a desire to help the less fortunate people in the area.

Please contact us if you would like to become a volunteer.

Meal Programs

The New Life Neighbourhood Centre provides the following food and meal programs:

Meal Box

Clients can pick up meal boxes (bags of grocery) on Tuesdays and Thursdays of every week between 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Single, double, and family-size groceries are provided.

Pre-registration is required and can be done in person.  Identification and income statement must be provided at the time of registration.

Continental Breakfast

A continental breakfast is offered on the second Saturday of every month between10:00 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. This is a free breakfast program which includes bagels, spreads, muffins, fruit, cereal, hot and cold beverages. Pre-registration is not required.

Pancake Breakfast

A pancake breakfast is offered on the third Sunday of every month between 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.   It features pancakes, sausages, French toast, hash browns, boiled eggs, applesauce, fruit, hot and cold beverages. Pre-registration is not required.

School Snacks

The Centre partners with the Optimist Club of Oshawa to provide weekly snacks to schools for children who arrive at school without a breakfast or lunch.

Hygiene Packages

We hand out hygiene packages quarterly in the months of March, June and September during our meal box distribution.  Hygiene packages are also given out with our Christmas Hampers in December.  These bags contain toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, soap, etc.

NLNC partners with DRIVEN to support women experiencing abuse and all forms of violence

New Life Neighbourhood Centre is pleased to provide this update on our new offsite partnership with DRIVEN.

DRIVEN provides access to multiple supports at one location for women experiencing abuse and all forms of violence. On-site partners are available on Mondays from 8:30am-4:30 pm to provide support. Off-site partners can be accessed over the phone from the DRIVEN clinic.  To view a full list of partners and services please visit the DRIVEN website Walk-ins and appointments are welcome. The last walk-in or appointment time is 3:15pm.

Women are able to access DRIVEN’s services over video chat from the NLNC on Mondays between 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Call 1-877-723-3905 to book a video chat appointment.

2015 Events

  • LIVEact Theatre of Whitby hosted a Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser on April 26 for the New Life Neighbourhood Centre. Over 150 supporters attended the event and what an amazing event it was! The band Shades of Gray headlined the evening with their music while MC Dave Schwinghammer kept the crowd engaged and in a giving mood. At the end of the evening nearly $5,000 was raised in support of the Centre’s food bank. Thanks to everyone for your generosity.

  • We are very grateful to the Sobey’s stores in Whitby and Ajax for holding a food drive for the Neighbourhood Centre during the first week of April. Also on hand was a Durham Police cruiser to help promote the event. Their efforts help us to help our neighbourhood.

  • 14 – The NLNC hosted its Annual Volunteer Appreciation event at  the New Life Seventh-day Adventist Church on Saturday, March 14. The service and luncheon recognized and thanked its many  volunteers, supporters and donors. Certificates of appreciation were presented by Jennifer French, MPP Oshawa during the luncheon. See the pictures.  Visit our facebook page for more pictures.
  • 29 -Buffalo Wild Wings Charity Auction

    On Sunday, March 29, Oshawa’s Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant hosted a charity auction in support of the NLNC’s programs. Many sponsors donated items for the silent auction and many patrons walked away with great deals. Mayor John Henry dropped in to support the effort along with many of the NLNC volunteers and New Life Church supporters. All proceeds will help to provide meals and other supplies for those in need in the Oshawa community.
  • 3 – Cooking with Will

IMG_0789 IMG_0798NLNC re-launched its cooking class on Tuesday, February 3, 2015 at 7:00pm. The classes are taught by Executive Chef Will. The goal is to help families and individuals learn how to prepare nutritious meals from the contents of the meal boxes they receive from the Centre. The classes will be held in the Centre’s kitchen on the first Tuesday evening after each meal box distribution date. See our calendar for all event and program dates.

  •  24 – Care packages for the homeless

    On Saturday January 24, NLNC volunteers delivered care packages to the homeless in downtown Oshawa. They went to shelters and other locations where individuals were thankful for the hot coffee and muffins as well as the packages. The packages included blankets, gloves, socks, snacks, and hygiene products. Many were blessed including our volunteers who indicated how grateful they were for what they had when they saw how little others in our community had. See Director Ann Thompson’s comments to Rogers TV Durham Region.

    Thanks to all our volunteers who came out to help. Thanks also to the donors who provided the supplies for the packages including: Feed the Need in Durham, Real Canadian Superstore, Residence Inn Marriott, Sears, Starbucks, The Body Shop, West 49, and Yves Rocher.

    Volunteers share their experiences from the streets of Oshawa:
    “It was amazing! We certainly were blessed, and were so impressed by their gratefulness and excitement.  Don said they were all saying ‘God bless you’ when they received their packages.  You would think you were giving them a million dollars.  I’m sure the people at the shelters were so thankful for the things they received as well.  I was really impressed as we drove around to see so many people carrying their care packages.  We would love to do it again.  Thank you for the opportunity to be part of this experience.”
    – Madolyn & Don –

    “Thank you for involving me today. It was a very fulfilling experience and I feel very blessed to have a roof over my head and food to eat.

    The most amazing experience that stood out from all the others was the teenage boy. James ran up to him and he came over. He was so appreciative of the bag and the look on his face when he opened the bag melted my heart. He was so happy. He expressed to us how he was new to Oshawa and also new to the streets. He looked so cold. He had no jacket, mitts or hat. When he tried on the gloves that amazingly enough were just the right ones made for him, he smiled and said thank you. We told him we where from New Life and that we could provide him with food, clothes and other things he may need. I really hope to see him and just know he is ok. Thank God for New Life and the shelters around us to help better the lives of people just like him.”
    – Melissa –

     IMG_1057 (2)“Maria, James and I really enjoyed helping to make the care packages and especially enjoyed going out and handing them out. When we got home we sat and talked about it and it made us really realize that even though we are struggling with money and other things, they have less then we do and need people like us to care and help them with what we can.  It made us feel like we had a million bucks compared to what they have. All the people we gave care packages to were very grateful and really loved the bags – they were waterproof and would keep their things dry. One lady thanked me and told me I made her feel special because I didn’t treat her differently. 
    We came across one person that made us feel really good. He was 16 years old. He told us he was new to this area. He didn’t even have a coat and his hands were so red from the cold it brought tears to my eyes.  He opened up the bag and said ‘wow, thank you’. Then he put his gloves on right away and sat and talked to us while he had his coffee and donut. We told him about our food bank, where it was and that he should come for a coat if he needed one. When he left he said ‘thank you so much, I didn’t expect all that was in the bag.’ It made us all feel really good inside and that we made his day special. We are so happy that we were a part of giving out the care packages.”
    – Kelly –

    “It was the first time for all of us. Our children were really into it. Isaac had the muffins and Kelly-Ann was holding the donuts. Isaac said to me while we were in the park giving out packages: ‘Mom, I just prayed for that woman over there.’ It was such a blessing to witness my children being impressed by the Holy Spirit. My heart overflowed with gratitude. Our daughter, Kelly-Ann, said she really wants to do it again. When we first arrived at the park, there was nobody in sight. Then we prayed and all the people came out! Praise God!  We will definitively do this again as a family.”
    – Stephanie –

    “It was such a wonderful experience and we were so truly blessed! It is so wonderful to do something for others, I feel like we feel more blessed then they do! Just the gladness and thankfulness the people showed was the most rewarding experience. Almost all of them said ‘God bless you.’ That just made me really happy! We will be back for sure!”
    – Kim –

    “It was such a humbling experience. Everyone we met said ‘God Bless you, thank you so much for what you have done.’  One gentleman said ‘is it really for free? Wow! I can’t believe you are doing this.’ One of the volunteers with me (Don) took off his gloves and gave it to him and he was so happy!
    I met another who was desparately cold. He was shaking so much he actually spilled the coffee. I could see he was having a hard time. After helping him I walked away thinking: we have warm homes and food yet some are barely existing. It is definitely more blessed to give than to receive.”
    – Noel –