How We Respond
VISION: Our vision is for a healthy, caring community where everyone lives with dignity and purpose. What began in 1919 as food and clothing assistance has grown to 21 programs serving residents of St. Catharines & Thorold, with some programs supporting the Niagara Region as a whole.
Food Bank: Within our St. Catharines and Thorold locations, Community Care acquires and distributes food to individuals and families facing hardships. Every client is assessed for need according to LICO Poverty Lines (Low Income Cut Off). Once registered, clients may access food, clothing and household goods every other month or six times per year; however no emergency is denied. Clients have the opportunity, thorough a point system to choose 3-5 days worth of food according to what is currently available on the food bank shelves, Canada’s Health Food Guide and personal preferences.
Bread is available to everyone, as well as fresh produce - according to the season.
What started as soup prepared in Leone Taylor’s kitchen has grown to the distribution of 5,400 lbs. of food per day, to over 100 households per day, 5 days a week (includes individuals and families)
Savoury Samples: On a regular basis, tasting samples are offered to clients along with bagged ingredients and recipes to take home.
No point system is applied.
Community Gardens: Since 1999, thirty garden plots located at Torosian Park, St. Catharines are supported in partnership with Niagara Regional Housing and The City of St. Catharines. Clients, through support, have the ability to grow their own produce.
Niagara Nutrition Partners: NNP coordinates student nutrition programs at elementary and secondary schools throughout the Niagara Region. Volunteers and staff distribute snacks, breakfast and/or lunch to over 17,000 students each school day.
Housing Supports: Housing Help assists those who are homeless, at risk of being homeless, receiving government assistance, underemployed, physically and/or mentally challenged, facing eviction, leaving institutions, or in need of community support. HH assists with: access to affordable housing, completion of rental applications and documents, landlord disputes, referrals to emergency shelter, trusteeships, money management, utility assistance and referrals to other local applicable agencies or services. HH works alongside ALL other Housing Organizations, agencies and landlords throughout The Region of Niagara.
Trusteeship Program: Money management and direct distribution of support funds are provided to secure housing and other related costs.
(Example: utilities) The Housing Help Centre works alongside most agencies within The Region of Niagara except Port Colborne and Fort Erie-however we are here to assist.
Youth Trusteeship Program: Students 16-24 years of age are assisted with budgeting of funds, along with advocacy with landlords, social services and schools. A trustee is mandatory to receive assistance. Youth hopefully will have the ability to remain in school. HH works alongside ALL agencies within The Region of Niagara.
Utility Assistance: Distribution of funding acquired through various Energy Assistance Programs as well as liaising with utility providers to ensure utilities, including lights and heat, is maintained.
Ontario Electricity Support Program: With OESP, low-income households can receive a credit on each electricity bill. The amount of the credit will depend on the number of people who live in their house along with combined household income.
RentSmart: Provides interactive life skills education and support for Tenants, Landlords, and Community Educators with one goal: “Successful Tenancies”. Part of a consortium, RentSmart Ontario is training Community Educators across the province to deliver the RentSmart programs to the clients they serve.
Brushed Aside: Requests for dentures, fillings, extractions, etc. are assessed & supported based on need & available resources.
Clara Crawford Fund: Community Care administers the CCF assisting seniors with glasses, hearing aids, prescriptions, etc. up to $500.00 per client.
ID Clinic: Assists with applications for new & replacement Birth Certificates and provides support with applications for Citizen Certificates, records of Landing, Canadian Marriage Certificates (to get SIN card), delayed statement of Birth, etc. The ID Clinic files/pays applications for clients, provides safe storage of ID, while providing individual support. As well, Service Canada is available each month to assist with Social Insurance Numbers-SIN.
The Housing Help Centre works alongside ALL agencies within The Region of Niagara.
Income Tax Clinics: Each spring, approximately 400 clients are provided assistance by trained CRA volunteers.
Clothing & Household Goods: Since 1919 items for registered clients - babies to seniors - have been provided. Thorold’s Thrift Store benefits the entire community with items at modest prices, however registered clients are non-paying customers. Referrals are made for access to larger household furnishings.
Baby Layette Program: New babies are welcomed with their own layette.
The Canadian Tire Bank Snacks ‘n Sneakers Back to School Program: Sneakers, backpacks, school supplies and one week's worth of healthy snacks are distributed to approximately 1,300 registered children in the weeks leading up to the return to school.
Canadian Tire Jumpstart Program: Close to 500 local children-who may otherwise be denied the opportunity to participate in recreational activities- are provided financially through the Canadian Tire Jumpstart Program. This national campaign began with CC as the pilot agency in 2004.
Birthday Program: Gifts are provided for children up to 10 years of age.
Christmas: During it’s long history, Community Care has always provided at Christmas. Over 3,000 registered households (which includes over 13,000 individual/families-babies to seniors-in 2019) are assisted each year due to the community’s generosity.