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Over the last year, Ottawa Community Housing and Care Centre Ottawa have partnered to address the needs of residents in four of our communities.
Pre-existing relationships between Bethel Church and the Care Centre, which operates out of Bethel, had been developed with Viewmount seniors prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the pandemic, Care Centre Ottawa developed the Care Box senior delivery program – to ensure residents had access to nutritionally culturally responsive foods. Care Centre Ottawa is a member agency of the Ottawa Food Bank.
The organization opened their doors in January 2017 to provide short-term, emergency assistance through its “Marketplace.”
It mirrored a shopping experience, by offering a food pantry, clothing depot and café.
Prior to the pandemic, residents were able to access the services on site, but the pandemic created two issues – one that residents couldn’t access in-person supports and two, that there was an increase in families who needed emergency food assistance.
The Care Centre went from serving 220 families in February 2020 to serve more than double that the following month. Now, the Care Centre consistently serves more than 700 families a month.
To help meet the demand and maintain a physical distance, they implemented a drive-thru model.
In May 2020, volunteers started delivering “Care Boxes” to the residents of Viewmount. Since that initial delivery, the organization has partnered with OCH and Ottawa West Community Support’s Aging in Place Program to help identify residents in need.
Today, they regularly deliver more than 150 care boxes to Viewmount, Golden, McEwen and Clementine.
What is in the boxes?
Care boxes are made up of non-perishable food, milk, eggs, bread, meat, fresh fruits, vegetables and personal care items. The best part is, choice is a key element, clients are able to let volunteers know about any dietary restrictions and preferences.
In addition to the Care Boxes, volunteers also provide takeout meals and have helped cater some OCH community celebrations as well as provide check in calls, reducing social isolation for the residents they serve and volunteers.
The Care Centre volunteers and staff are committed to serving the community with dignity and letting residents know we are all in this together. For more information on the Care Centre Ottawa, visit https://www.carecentreottawa.ca/
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