In 2019, I was honoured to be elected Chair of the Caldwell Family Centre Board of Directors, succeeding Yolaine Münter, who stepped down from this role after many years of dedicated service.
The ongoing efforts of the Caldwell Family Centre donors, volunteers and staff are inspiring to see and incredible to be a part of. However, we continue to see an increased need for the programs and services we provide. The needs in the community continue to grow. The number of healthy meals we serve continues to climb month after month and the number of families needing help through the Baby Depot continues to increase at an alarming pace.
These trends continue in a worrisome direction and behind these statistics are suffering families, children, lonely seniors – human beings who deserve better.
Our current facility space is not adequate, and we are well beyond capacity. While we are extremely grateful to Ottawa Community Housing and the City of Ottawa for our current space, we are struggling to maintain the current level of service. More space is needed to provide just the basic services.
We are therefore working closely with our community partners towards the creation of a Community and Social Enterprise Hub. This hub will incorporate both commercial and non-profit organizations to keep costs down. It will include a commercial kitchen, employment training programs, childcare and much more. It will link social wellbeing with investments in people. Similar hubs throughout the country have proven to be successful in increasing the quality of life for those in need, while still being cost effective.
We have made significant advancements in the past year in planning for this hub and we are now that much closer to making this become a reality. Our next step is the creation of a Sustainability and Business Plan that will culminate in presenting this material to City Council for approval.
The new hub will not only help the Family Centre continue to provide food and clothing to those in need but will also provide hope for a better future through the provision of employment readiness programs. Young parents will be able to leave their children in the childcare while they continue their education in order to secure gainful employment to better provide for the future of their family. Youth and newcomers will be able to obtain employment experience and references through participating in social enterprise opportunities. The hub will benefit both people living in the immediate area, and everyone in the City of Ottawa – everyone benefits when those who live in poverty are helped.
But we can’t do this without you. There are lots of ways you can help. Please keep the donations coming. Help to raise our profile in the community by talking about the important work of the Caldwell Family Centre with your family, friends and colleagues. Continue to raise awareness and advocate for solutions to the critical issue of poverty in our own city. Or volunteer with us.