St Thomas in the Community
St Thomas is actively engaged with the Alta Vista community. This takes place though our Outreach activities as well as through our efforts to host and lead conversations on community issues. Our Community Consultation process is described below.
On May 18, 2016, St Thomas hosted a ‘Community Consultation’ breakfast to examine issues related to refugee housing and food security. About 35 participants attended, representing organizations involved with housing, immigration and refugee settlement, community associations, refugee sponsoring groups, faith communities, and political representatives.
Conversations were informal, around small tables of 10 people. They were led and recorded by St Thomas members. A report on the Consultation is titled ‘2016 Community Consultation Report’ It was sent out to all who participated.
St Thomas has a number of Outreach initiatives, including the following:
Ellwood House is a non-profit senior citizens residence located on the church property at 2270 Braeside Avenue. It is administered under an Ontario Ministry of Housing program and some of the apartments are offered at market and subsidized rents. Two apartments are designed to serve the physically challenged.
There are 22 one-bedroom and 8 two-bedroom units. The three floors are serviced by an elevator and parking is available. Gardens and the park next door enhance the building.
Residents share a strong community spirit; many social activities are held in the Common Room with its grand piano, kitchen and comfortable chairs.
The Board of Directors is comprised of members of the parish, and the property is maintained by Bartosek Enterprises. Ellwood House’s long-term lease with the parish matures in 2024, at which time the building and property revert to the parish.
Chat and Chew
In September 2013, as part of an outreach venture, a luncheon program for seniors was initiated at St. Thomas’. Participants come from the community and from the parish, on the third Tuesday of the month, currently running from September to May. They enjoy a nutritious home made lunch followed by a time of musical entertainment or a speaker, presenting topics of interest to seniors. The day runs from 11:30 am until 2:00 pm. Guests provide their own transportation. To cover the costs, there is a small annual registration fee as well as a fee for the lunch, paid on arrival each month.
The program is organized and supported by a corps of approximately sixteen volunteers who buy and prepare the food, serve, set up and clean up, as well as interact with the guests.
It is interesting and rewarding to see our seniors enjoying not only the meal, but the social interaction and the sense of community.
New participants and volunteers are always welcome. For information and/or sign-up, please call Nanci in the church office at 613-733-0336.
Next to St Thomas is Braeside House, one of St Stephens’ Residences homes for disabled adults. The home of eight men and women is fully staffed 24/7 by social workers and care givers. Volunteers come from the community and from St Thomas, and several St Thomas parishioners are on the Board.