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.
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.
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
NLNC 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
Some of the care packages that were distributed
A few of the volunteers getting ready to distribute to the homeless.
Melissa, James and Maria at memorial park
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 –
“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.”
14 – Christmas is our biggest event of the year at the Neighbourhood Centre and this year was no exception. Thanks to our donors and volunteers Christmas 2014 will be remembered by many of our clients as a happy one. So many did so much to help.
Sharon MacCrimmon and her team brought in boxes and more boxes of stockings to be given to children in our community.
Linda Mash and Melanie Brown and their friends donated mounds of toys.
Feed the Need Durham provided us with Christmas hampers. Keller Williams donated hampers with turkeys while Linda and John Mash donated chickens.
New Life church donated a tree laden with scarves, mittens, and hats from which the children had fun selecting their favourite.
Our many volunteers spent time sorting and labeling the gifts and hampers. Others prepared the meal by spending long hours cooking and baking and still others served Christmas dinner to more than 300 clients on December 14. Oh, don’t forget the beautiful way the hall was decorated.Altogether Christmas was made special for someone. Thanks for sharing God’s blessing with those in need. View the pictures below of some of the activities that took place during the event.
30 – Nerds on Site held their annual food drive called “Fill the Beetle” in support of the Neighbourhood Centre at Agostino & Nancy’s No Frills in Oshawa. Thanks to Brad Coloma and his team for their amazing effort. Do you think they filled the Beetle?
On Sunday, October 19, just before another wonderful pancake breakfast was served, volunteers got together to bid farewell to the Centre’s longest serving volunteer – Bonnie Parsons. She has been serving the community through the Neighbourhood Centre for over 10 years and has been a blessing to many. We wish her all the best as she moves away to be with family.
23 – Our Annual Community BBQ was held on Saturday, August 23 in the parking lot of the New Life Church at 33 Olive Avenue in Oshawa. Several dignitaries were on hand for the ribbon cutting ceremony and dedication of the newly renovated kitchen and accessibility upgrades. They included: Gary Hodder – Executive Secretary of the Ontario Headquarters of the SDA Church; Shane Kelly – Executive Assistant to MP Colin Carrie; Bruce Wood – Oshawa Councillor; John Henry – Oshawa Mayor; Jennifer French – Oshawa MPP; Bob Chapman – Oshawa Councillor; Julien LeBourdais – Executive Director of Feed the Need in Durham; Frank Dell’Erba – Pastor of New Life SDA Church; and Ann Thompson – Director of the New Life Neighbourhood Centre. Despite the overcast conditions the rain held up and hundreds of Oshawa residents came out to enjoy the BBQ prepared by the volunteers of the Centre as well as the great music presented by the New Life Praise Band. Browse the images below. Also visit Snap Oshawa’s website for more on the event.
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29 – “Cooking with Will” begins. Our own Chef Will holds a cooking class on the last Tuesday of each month beginning at 7:00 pm. This class is focused on cooking delicious and nutritious meals on a budget. All are welcome but space is limited so call the Centre at 905-404-2004 to let us know you would like to attend.
2 – Meal box distribution resumes
24 – NLNC volunteers awarded for service
For over 20 years the Government of Ontario has honoured volunteers through the Ontario Volunteer Service Awards. This award is presented to volunteers who contribute consecutive years of service to a single group within Ontario. On Monday, March 24, at a special ceremony held at Deer Creek Golf and Banquet Facility in Ajax, the following New Life Neighborhood Centre volunteers were recognized with awards for their consistent and ongoing years of volunteer service to our community: Mike Pepping (5yrs), Christine Pepping (5yrs), Danielle Martin (youth), Tahisha Scoon-Allan (youth), Keona Athanas (youth), Tony Martin (5yrs), and Bonnie Parson not in picture (10yrs ). Also pictured with the group is Jerry Ouellette, MPP Oshawa and Frank Dell’Erba, Pastor of the New Life Church. On behalf of our New Life family we extend our congratulations! and God’s continual blessing as they continue to minister to others!
16 – Pancake Breakfast and Distribution of Care Packages to the homeless
22 – Volunteer Appreciation Day. A special service was held at the New Life Church to honour our donors, supporters and volunteers. Certificates of appreciation were handed out and scrolls of appreciation were also presented to volunteers by Shane Kelly on behalf of Colin Carrie, MP – Oshawa. The service was followed by a special lunch.
The New Life Neighbourhood Centre announced plans to renovate its food bank services thanks in part to a $150,000 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF). Penny Smith, representing the OTF, attended the annual community barbeque hosted by the Centre where she shared the news of the grant and the planned improvements moving forward.
The renovation and accessibility project will address food handling, Fire and Building Code compliance issues to ensure continued community access to this important facility in downtown Oshawa. This includes installation of a chair stair lift, wheelchair entrance ramp, and an upgraded kitchen with the necessary appliances.
The project is estimated to cost $250,000 as the building is very old. The Centre is hoping to make up the shortfall with fundraising activities and donations from supporters.
A leading grant-maker in Canada, the OTF strengthens the capacity of the voluntary sector through investments in community-based initiatives. An agency of the Government of Ontario, OTF builds healthy and vibrant communities.
“The New Life Neighbourhood Centre has been a volunteer service provider and inspirtional foundation in our community for over 10 years. I wish to congratulate the staff, volunteers and congregation on receiving an Ontario Trillium Foundation grant and proceeding with the kitchen renovations and essential upgrades to provide a more accessible facility to enhance its valuable spiritual contribution to our community.” – Jerry Ouellette, MPP for Oshawa
“I would like to congratulate New Life Neighbourhood Centre for its continued commitment into our community. The reinvestment into the Centre by the Ontario Trillium Foundation will positively impact an additional segment of our community. The efforts and actions of the Centre live up to the City’s mantra as “Amazing!” – John Henry, Mayor for Oshawa
“This grant will be used to renovate the kitchen, purchase and install chair lift, wheelchair entrance ramp, automatic door openers and help build an accesible washroom. We are thankful for the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s commitment to assist us in providing food and life skills training in our community.” – Ann Thompson, Director of the New Life Neighbourhood Centre
Please contact us if you would like to help with defraying the cost of this project.
8 – Melanie and Andrew Brown delivered their annual donation of toys to the Centre.
15 – Annual Community Christmas Dinner and hampers. Our annual Community Christmas Dinner took place on December 15. Over 300 people were served a turkey dinner, and all who pre-registered received a Christmas hamper as well as toys for the children. Thanks to all our donors and volunteers who made it possible. Here are some of the images from the event that took place on December 15 as well as the many donations of gifts and food hampers.
24 – Kimberly Drury, Community Outreach Director for Trafalgar Castle School, presented boxes of dinnerware to the Neighbourhood Centre for the new kitchen.
29 & 30 – Rossland Optical donated cash and held a successful food drive collecting non-perishable items for the Christmas hampers. During the 2-day event donors were given a chance to win a Michael Kors purse and wristlet worth over $200.