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Category: What I Have Learned So Far (138 posts)
Home Grown Talent
October 15, 2017 @ 4:25 PM by: Richard Steinecke

It was all their idea. Two of our community members wondered if they could cook turkeys for Thanksgiving Tuesday. They would each take a frozen turkey home, defrost it, cook it and bring it in on the day of the meal. But there was a problem. To ha ... [read full post]


Boys Like to Get Messy
October 10, 2017 @ 5:59 AM by: Richard Steinecke

What is it about boys and messes. During the last ‎heat wave we received six or seven crates of mandarins. Unfortunately they were ruined. They were covered in mould. They were oozing juice. By Tuesday dinner time they were discovered amid som ... [read full post]


Feeling Like a Grandparent
October 1, 2017 @ 8:12 AM by: Richard Steinecke

I am going to be a grandfather soon. I had a taste of what it might be like recently. One of our summer students is, like me, an introvert. Over the past two years I saw him grow into a leader with his peers and some of our other volunteers. Recen ... [read full post]


The Award
September 28, 2017 @ 6:12 PM by: Richard Steinecke

Day in and day out we work hard. We [our staff and volunteers] work late setting up and we get up early to set up some more. We negotiate different perspectives on how to serve our community. We accept the gratitude of most of our community member ... [read full post]


Situation Ethics
September 24, 2017 @ 5:33 AM by: Richard Steinecke

I grew up being taught that morality was absolute. It is always wrong to lie or steal. Ever. I heard only bad things about Joseph Fletcher’s books on Situation Ethics during the 1960’s. As a university student I struggled with the stor ... [read full post]


Out of Reach
September 16, 2017 @ 7:40 AM by: Richard Steinecke

I first saw it across a crowded room. I was immediately struck by its beauty and grace. As I drew closer its elegant simplicity was overwhelming. The message of the painting was unmistakable. I knew the name of the piece even before I read it. For ... [read full post]


Starting School
September 11, 2017 @ 6:15 PM by: Richard Steinecke

What better way to welcome a fresh crop of Grade 9 students to their new school than having them clean out the food room at Oasis? That is what 20 fresh faced youth from the Toronto District Christian School did this past week. Starting off on a m ... [read full post]


Disgusting
September 6, 2017 @ 5:14 AM by: Richard Steinecke

I like asparagus. And this time of year it is expensive. So when the truck brought cases and cases of it we grabbed it. However, on opening the boxes the smell just about knocked you over. We picked out the bunches that were still acceptable. At t ... [read full post]


An Artistic Goodbye
August 26, 2017 @ 6:09 AM by: Richard Steinecke

Eight weeks. That is how long our summer students were with us. At the beginning eight weeks seemed like forever with so much opportunity and promise. At the end it seemed to have just flown by in the blink of an eye. In between it was filled with ... [read full post]


Getting A Boost
August 23, 2017 @ 3:55 PM by: Richard Steinecke

August has been tough for our food bank. Our usual suppliers are experiencing shortages themselves. We have been spending our own funds (which are in short supply) to buy additional food. Some of our community members have felt it, especially when ... [read full post]


Too Close to Home
August 18, 2017 @ 6:30 AM by: Richard Steinecke

It was almost two years ago that I first learned about the opioid crisis. I was having lunch with the leader of the pharmacy regulator in Ontario. He explained about the origin of fentanyl-laced street drugs and of the small margin of error betwee ... [read full post]


Kids are the Same Everywhere
August 15, 2017 @ 6:31 AM by: Richard Steinecke

It was such a delight to have the day camp from the Dawah Centre (our local mosque) visit the food bank. They helped serve community members with enthusiasm. We also arranged some interactive events to educate them about the work that Oasis does. ... [read full post]


Addiction
August 11, 2017 @ 7:18 AM by: Richard Steinecke

Many of our volunteers are open about their struggles with addiction. Over the last few weeks some of them have shared their experiences with our students and other volunteers. We were able to hear how the roots of their addiction originated with ... [read full post]


Giving Up Dinner
August 3, 2017 @ 3:10 PM by: Richard Steinecke

Ninety people! The people just kept streaming in. As soon as we brought in more tables and chairs we needed more. The room was bursting. This was probably the most we have ever had for our Tuesday community dinner. Nice weather and holiday closure ... [read full post]


Almost Missing Out on a Blessing
July 28, 2017 @ 9:37 AM by: Richard Steinecke

I was upset. We had paid for our spot at the local street festival. It was supposed to have a table, two chairs and a tent covering. But there was someone else in it. Festival authorities said that two organizations had accidentally been given the ... [read full post]


Rapt Attention
July 23, 2017 @ 6:25 AM by: Richard Steinecke

Some lives were changed forever last Wednesday. Including mine. We have been having some of our volunteers sharing their stories with our summer students. Most recently we asked Cathi to talk about her life. You could hear a pin drop as she recoun ... [read full post]


Abandoned
July 22, 2017 @ 9:27 AM by: Richard Steinecke

I am astonished that many of volunteers take it upon themselves, without being asked, to clean up the garbage that accumulates outsides our doors on food bank days. That is not one of our most glamourous tasks. Recently I thought it was my turn to ... [read full post]


Happiness is Here!
July 13, 2017 @ 6:13 AM by: Richard Steinecke

“Happiness is here” said a staff member excitedly. It was food bank day and there were a lot of people in the main room. I wondered if “Happiness” was the name of a community member that had returned after a long absence. S ... [read full post]


The Potato Masher
July 7, 2017 @ 6:10 AM by: Richard Steinecke

I am amazed at how people who visit Oasis want to contribute. Recently a member of our Board of Directors attended the food bank, saw that we were short of certain hygiene products, and arrived with a huge donation of them the next week. Over the ... [read full post]


You Are Doing Nothing Right!
July 4, 2017 @ 8:12 AM by: Richard Steinecke

About one’s motivation for service, Leslie Ludy says: “If you are in ministry for your own happiness and comfort, you'll be sorely disappointed.” Recently ‎I personally received disheartening feedback from two community membe ... [read full post]


Community Leaders
June 30, 2017 @ 10:35 AM by: Richard Steinecke

Not being one myself, I have gained a new respect for Executive Directors. At a community meeting on affordable housing hosted by our local MP Julie Dzerowicz about a dozen Executive Directors attended. They each told heart-rending stories about t ... [read full post]


You Don't Know Me but I am Praying for You
June 24, 2017 @ 8:24 AM by: Richard Steinecke

It is lonely, sometimes, staffing a display table like I did recently at the CBOQ Assembly. People sometimes avoid you for fear that you are going to ask them for a donation. However, I had some great conversations with a number of people about th ... [read full post]


Hidden Talents
June 16, 2017 @ 5:49 AM by: Richard Steinecke

Most of our community members have hidden talents. For example, many of them are quite handy and are eager to help with necessary repairs. Never having been handy myself, I genuinely appreciate these skills. But occasionally a hidden talent jumps ... [read full post]


Tucked Away
June 10, 2017 @ 8:52 AM by: Richard Steinecke

“I never knew that was here.” That was the universal reaction by everyone who saw it. At our spring event last week (and thank you everyone who came) we learned a lot about our neighbourhood. During our walking tour we came across a sm ... [read full post]


Why the Oasis Spring Event Means So Much to Me
June 1, 2017 @ 4:35 PM by: Richard Steinecke

Most charity fund raising events are about entertainment and money. Don’t get me wrong, those are important to Oasis too. But to me the most important part of our events, especially our spring event this coming Saturday, is the interaction a ... [read full post]


Relying on the Kindness of Strangers
May 30, 2017 @ 6:51 PM by: Richard Steinecke

Oasis relies on the kindness of strangers. Week after week people we do not know help us. This became so evident last week. For years we knew we needed to replace our shelving in the food storage room. We asked the local carpenters’ union fo ... [read full post]


The TP Incentive Program
May 27, 2017 @ 6:06 AM by: Richard Steinecke

Humour can make almost any situation bearable. I tell lame jokes before most activities to lighten the mood. (“Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.”) It has gotten to the point that once, when I announced I had not brough ... [read full post]


Loss and Regret
May 23, 2017 @ 4:25 AM by: Richard Steinecke

If we are honest with ourselves, we all have regrets. A community member was carefully packing his food into his knapsack. I commented on his skill and attention. He told me that as a teenager he worked in a grocery store packing and carrying groc ... [read full post]


Another Set of Nail-Scarred Hands
May 14, 2017 @ 6:52 AM by: Richard Steinecke

“I am sleeping in the park and I thought today was Tuesday.” So our volunteer and community member explained why he was absent from helping unload the food trucks the day before. As we talked he invited me, in a humorous gesture of gen ... [read full post]


I am a Hypocrite
May 9, 2017 @ 4:49 AM by: Richard Steinecke

There is no getting around it. Most people are uncomfortable using a food bank. We do everything we can to welcome people and make their time at Oasis pleasant. We encourage community members to linger and socialize. We understand that life has de ... [read full post]


It's the Small Gestures that Count
May 2, 2017 @ 11:10 AM by: Richard Steinecke

It was such a beautiful spring day that I decided to walk to visit my mom. I was delighted to see a community member on his way to see the blossoms in High Park. I always feel closer to the community when I see them while walking in the neighbourh ... [read full post]


More Award Winning Volunteers
April 29, 2017 @ 6:59 AM by: Richard Steinecke

Yet another one of our volunteers has won a prestigious award. He helps out in three local agencies, including Oasis. And he does such a good job. Reliable, friendly, gentle and kind.  ‎We were so pleased by his nomination (by another age ... [read full post]


Missin' My Janet Hugs
April 24, 2017 @ 5:08 AM by: Richard Steinecke

Our secret weapon at Oasis is called Janet. Often she is the first person anyone sees entering our food bank. With the wonderful St. Vincent lilt to her voice, she welcomes everyone with a warm greeting and a reassuring welcome. She has become so ... [read full post]


The Downward Spiral
April 18, 2017 @ 9:03 AM by: Richard Steinecke

It is like watching a car accident. You see the vehicles try to stop or steer out of, it but you know the collision is inevitable. One of the hardest parts of serving at Oasis is to see a community member get sucked into a swirling, downward spira ... [read full post]


The Awards Luncheon
April 8, 2017 @ 5:36 AM by: Richard Steinecke

Volunteering is rewarding. But for Peter Graves, it was more rewarding than usual. Peter, a fire fighter from the station just doors up the street from Oasis, had been recruited along with five of his colleagues to help prepare and serve our Chris ... [read full post]


Apperances Can Be Deceiving
April 7, 2017 @ 7:04 AM by: Richard Steinecke

He was huge. As this first-timer to our community dinner walked in I was wary. Tall, big and with long purple hair. I wondered what I would do if there was trouble. He also did some unexpected things like open up his duffle bag and sort out his st ... [read full post]


'In Our Experience'
April 3, 2017 @ 2:52 PM by: Richard Steinecke

I was privileged to speak at Ossington Avenue Baptist Church recently. I was asked to address homelessness. I had some facts and figures. I also had some theories about the causes of homelessness and some possible solutions. The audience was polit ... [read full post]


Scary Stuff
April 1, 2017 @ 4:59 AM by: Richard Steinecke

I sat down with one of our community members who always smiles and is upbeat. I had known for some time that he had to leave his place. He told me he had found a temporary place with an acquaintance. It was really no more than a spot in the corner ... [read full post]


A Short History of our Book Exchange
March 31, 2017 @ 5:27 AM by: Richard Steinecke

It is wonderful to see community members “buy-into” one of our programs. I heard of the idea of a community book exchange from some summer interns working at Liberty Grace Church. I got out a small book shelf and stuck in a few books l ... [read full post]


Getting Work
March 23, 2017 @ 4:59 PM by: Richard Steinecke

Many of our community members have just given up on ever finding a job. So we were somewhat hesitant about bringing in Humber Community Employment Services to provide advice to our community members. However, at our food bank day we set aside a pr ... [read full post]


Finishing Half and Hour Late
March 17, 2017 @ 2:25 PM by: Richard Steinecke

Lanark, Perth and Smith Falls are towns a little west of Ottawa. Close to a dozen of their youth, many of whom live on farms, chose to spend their March Break in Toronto. Their main mission was to do ESL tutoring for new Canadian children. However ... [read full post]


Our Volunteers Are Keepers
March 10, 2017 @ 6:55 AM by: Richard Steinecke

When one of our key staff people fell ill, our volunteers leapt into action. They knew everything that had to be done and were even giving guidance to other staff on the finer points of storing the food unloaded from the trucks. They were fearless ... [read full post]


Ash Wednesday
March 6, 2017 @ 5:34 PM by: Richard Steinecke

“Why do they give it then?” “The emperor has no clothes!” Two sentences by two insightful children. The latter statement comes from the famous fairy tale. The first was asked by some children visiting Oasis as part of their ... [read full post]


Re-Filling the Emotional Tank
March 4, 2017 @ 6:17 AM by: Richard Steinecke

I arrived at the Bible study emotionally drained. My week had begun with seeing a spiritually upsetting movie with one of my daughters called “Silence”. Then I learned that one of my spiritual mentors is in palliative care for cancer a ... [read full post]


Living With the Newspaper Headlines
February 24, 2017 @ 10:26 AM by: Richard Steinecke

The headlines about the “Sixties Scoop” sounded familiar. First nations children were taken from their homes and adopted by non-native families in Southern Ontario during the 1960’s. One of our community members had told me a sto ... [read full post]


The Reports
February 21, 2017 @ 9:59 AM by: Richard Steinecke

Thursdays I am rarely at Oasis. I was, as usual, working at my paying job. But I eagerly received reports of the day from the staff there. The first report was unsettling: “we had to deal with a very upset community member that wanted food&r ... [read full post]


Valentine's Day
February 17, 2017 @ 5:56 AM by: Richard Steinecke

What could be more romantic? After our separate busy days my wife, Donna, arrived at Oasis for the community dinner. I was busy mingling with community members while she helped serve the meal. Our community members and volunteers stepped up to var ... [read full post]


The Antidote to Fear is Relationship
February 11, 2017 @ 7:35 AM by: Richard Steinecke

A few years ago, when I first saw the Dawah Centre mosque a block from my church, I was not happy. The display window was overtly attempting to recruit believers. In a sense, it was directly competing with our church. Also, without any evidence to ... [read full post]


The Gambler
February 9, 2017 @ 4:02 PM by: Richard Steinecke

As I was driving to the cottage slowly savouring some premium Belgian chocolates and anticipating an exceptional Webers hamburger (hey, I had a tough week!) I reflected on the challenges for some of my favourite community members. Many of them smo ... [read full post]


Gandhi's Usher
February 7, 2017 @ 7:34 AM by: Richard Steinecke

The archangel announced the next case: “Lord, is George Smithers. He wishes to enter heaven because he believes Jesus is the Son of God. He has served faithfully in his church. He has donated at least 10% of his income to the church. And he ... [read full post]


Vigil Reflections
February 2, 2017 @ 7:02 AM by: Richard Steinecke

A large contingent of Oasis staff, volunteers and supporters attended a vigil at the Dawah Centre mosque to honour the dead and injured at Quebec City. Hundreds attended the vigil. Special thanks go to Todd Thomason, who was recognized at the vigi ... [read full post]


Muslims are Welcome at Oasis
January 30, 2017 @ 6:48 AM by: Richard Steinecke

Words cannot express our horror and sadness at the Quebec Mosque events of last night. At Oasis we are proud that our country and our organization receive, not ban Syrian refugees. We have appreciated the contributions of our Muslim community memb ... [read full post]


Spontaneous Generosity
January 27, 2017 @ 7:35 AM by: Richard Steinecke

“I don’t have to cook for two days” said the volunteer as he helped with the cleanup after our Tuesday community meal. When the meal is over, community members are allowed to take a container of left overs home. We are particular ... [read full post]


Throwing Plans Out the Window
January 18, 2017 @ 4:09 PM by: Richard Steinecke

There is an old Yiddish proverb that says “People plan, God laughs”. While the view that God laughs at us is doubtful, it is true that our plans are not always Gods plans. Sometimes we just need to shelve our plans and deal with the ci ... [read full post]


One Onion
January 13, 2017 @ 11:50 AM by: Richard Steinecke

“For an onion. One onion.” The community member was visibly upset as he told me his tale. He is regular at the local plaza. It is a place he can go to get out of his small and dingy room. It is a major part of his community. He estimat ... [read full post]


Prioritizing
January 7, 2017 @ 11:50 AM by: Richard Steinecke

Like most people, during that brief lull at the beginning of each year I try to set some priorities for the coming year. This year doing so is particularly important as the Board of Oasis is setting aside most of a Saturday to do some serious stra ... [read full post]


My First Year
December 28, 2016 @ 7:18 AM by: Richard Steinecke

Focussing on day to day tasks and planning for the near future, we often lose sight of the larger canvass of our lives. It was just a year ago that I started to volunteer half of my work week at Oasis. Looking back at my journal and blog entries, ... [read full post]


Miracle on Dufferin Street
December 21, 2016 @ 5:41 AM by: Richard Steinecke

I witnessed a strong argument for the existence of God last night. For our big turkey dinner we had, for the first time ever, a team of six firefighters from the local fire hall helping cook and serve the meal. They were wonderful: cheery, hardwor ... [read full post]


Blinding Amazement
December 15, 2016 @ 9:17 AM by: Richard Steinecke

Ken and Elaine are blind. They heard about Oasis at their church and wanted to check it out for themselves. So they got on the bus and went up the street to Oasis and somehow found their way to the side door and down the stairs. They joined the co ... [read full post]


The Community Gathers
December 10, 2016 @ 7:29 AM by: Richard Steinecke

There is really only one day when the broader Oasis community gathers together. Sure, much of the community is there for the spring and fall happenings, but those are task orientated events. It is only at the Christmas celebration that program par ... [read full post]


Preach it Brother
December 1, 2016 @ 9:29 AM by: Richard Steinecke

I have done a lot of presentations on behalf of Oasis. This week I preached my first full sermon as its representative. People do want to hear the stories of “mission work”, but this was a rare opportunity to also communicate how &ldqu ... [read full post]


Returning Friends
November 24, 2016 @ 9:57 AM by: Richard Steinecke

I continue to be amazed at how community members can disappear from Oasis and then reappear months and even years later. One of the stalwarts for Oasis for years was Terry. His steady presence kept the food bank operating smoothly through all kind ... [read full post]


Another Drop in the Ocean
November 19, 2016 @ 6:54 AM by: Richard Steinecke

You take your victories where you can get them. Paolo (not his real name) came to the community dinner a few weeks ago carrying a lot of stuff. He was upset. His usual friendly greeting was replaced with “life sucks!” He had been evict ... [read full post]


Child Poverty Report Released
November 15, 2016 @ 4:50 AM by: Richard Steinecke

 

Our Food Bank is open during school hours so we don’t see a lot of children. However, many parents do bring their pre-schoolers along. They are always a delight to see and the volunteers and community members gravitate towards ... [read full post]


Skill Development
November 11, 2016 @ 10:21 AM by: Richard Steinecke

In the last few weeks we have been delighted to have Dee doing a school placement with us at Oasis. This week I met with her and her supervisor to review the tasks she is doing. Dee is very agreeable and has been happy to do anything that needs do ... [read full post]


Washing Dishes and Cultural Awareness
November 6, 2016 @ 7:07 AM by: Richard Steinecke

It was drummed into my head as a child that you should not leave the water running; our well could go dry. This was reinforced as an adult as being bad for the environment as clean drinking water is a precious commodity. So when I saw some of our ... [read full post]


A Collision of Two Worlds
October 27, 2016 @ 5:12 AM by: Richard Steinecke

It was a delightful breakfast at a very expensive restaurant with three other senior lawyers. In addition to the business at hand, some of our number recounted adventures in buying expensive suits at one of the top-quality tailors in the city. I h ... [read full post]


Family
October 23, 2016 @ 1:51 PM by: Richard Steinecke

We often hear talk about a group or organization being like “one big family”. More often than not that is just talk. But at our Walkathon yesterday, the group did feel like family. Certainly there were diverse elements including staff, ... [read full post]


If You Don't Like the Answer, Ask Someone Else
October 22, 2016 @ 7:20 AM by: Richard Steinecke

Jesus’ parable about the persistent neighbour is about relying on God to answer prayer. If you can pester a neighbour who cannot be bothered to help you to giving you want you want, how much more is God who loves you and wants the best for y ... [read full post]


Two Steps Backwards
October 18, 2016 @ 5:21 AM by: Richard Steinecke

You just cannot explain some days. Last Wednesday was one of them. It began with a confrontation with a volunteer who refused to stop aggressively presenting his unusual and somewhat disturbing views to others. Then there were more than the usual ... [read full post]


A Widow's Mite
October 14, 2016 @ 3:13 PM by: Richard Steinecke

It is amazing to see a Bible story replay right in front of you. But earlier this week that very thing happened. A community member came up to me during our dinner and asked if he could make a donation to our work. I knew he had very little money, ... [read full post]


Fellowship
October 5, 2016 @ 4:47 PM by: Richard Steinecke

“Fellowship” is a quaint term. You hear it most often in church settings and in the Lord of the Rings Movies. The word conjures up an image of group camaraderie, joyful celebration, and good friends. After going through our food bank, ... [read full post]


Taking a Hockey Stick to the Shower
September 30, 2016 @ 8:26 AM by: Richard Steinecke

I arrived after it had it was all over. Bill (not his real name) was shaken. Another community member had taken much more than his portion of the meat for their table and Bill had asked him to share it with the others. The other community member r ... [read full post]


Like a Picnic in the Park
September 24, 2016 @ 4:10 PM by: Richard Steinecke

Last Tuesday our picnic in the park was like, well, a picnic in the park. The weather was perfect. Community members sat down in small circles eating and talking. The mood was entirely relaxed. Which is a real contrast to our usual dinners in the ... [read full post]


Friends in Unusual Places
September 20, 2016 @ 8:02 AM by: Richard Steinecke

Oasis finds supporters in unusual ways and in unusual places. There is an employment centre about five minutes drive from Oasis. I am not even sure how we found each other. We have referred a few community members there.‎ Last spring we called ... [read full post]


It's Not the Food
September 15, 2016 @ 5:51 AM by: Richard Steinecke

 I was talking with one of our community members. The conversation ranged over many topics including his living situation. He has a wonderful landlady who cooks some of his meals for him. She is genuinely concerned about all of her tenants (n ... [read full post]


The Thrill of Giving
September 13, 2016 @ 9:50 AM by: Richard Steinecke

These days I buy myself the gifts I really want. Sometimes I am able to specify an extra treat for Christmas or my birthday. What really gets me excited, though, is finding a special gift for someone that I think they will really like. I get impat ... [read full post]


The Reappearance
September 8, 2016 @ 6:06 AM by: Richard Steinecke

There have been a few community members that “disappear”. For whatever reason they just stop coming. I am not surprised; many of our community members live unsettled lives. They return “home”; try a new life; visit family o ... [read full post]


Feeling Rotten
September 1, 2016 @ 6:39 AM by: Richard Steinecke

Whenever you make policies for the best of reasons, there are consequences. After struggling for months with running out of key food items (e.g., milk, fresh food, dairy) and even running out of food together, staff decided we needed to more stric ... [read full post]


It's a Wonderful Life
August 26, 2016 @ 10:59 AM by: Richard Steinecke

Andy Kokics had worked at the Oasis food bank for many years until his health deteriorated. He had no family and I anticipated a very small turnout for his memorial service. I was wrong. There were about 50 people from his building, his church and ... [read full post]


The Hug
August 25, 2016 @ 7:46 AM by: Richard Steinecke

I was so wrapped up in my own thoughts that I did not even see her. Just as we met on the sidewalk she greeted me and gave me a big hug. I had been away for a week and she wanted to know how I was doing. We chatted for a while. A few hours later I ... [read full post]


Cannonball
August 22, 2016 @ 5:16 AM by: Richard Steinecke

A smile formed on his face as he approached the water. He leaped up, grabbed his knees and cannonballed into the water. The huge splash drenched the person standing beside him and landed on the spectators in the first few rows. Did this happen at ... [read full post]


Encouragement
August 20, 2016 @ 5:12 PM by: Richard Steinecke

At the Compassion Conference I was at this week there were many stirring stories and inspiring videos. The highlight for me, though, was the sharing time. ‎Of the hundreds of people attending the conference less than a dozen came to this sessi ... [read full post]


White Privilege
August 17, 2016 @ 6:15 PM by: Richard Steinecke

At the conference on Compassion I am at this week, Micah Bournes an Afro-American speaker, talked about White Privilege. It was actually quite brave of him to do so since almost everyone in the audience was Caucasian.  Micah was respectful an ... [read full post]


'Thank You for Putting Me in Jail'
August 11, 2016 @ 6:13 AM by: Richard Steinecke

One of our community members felt like socializing today. He brought his cute dog in and had him perform some tricks with some of the volunteers. I caught up with him at the coffee table and we chatted about the dog, his grandchildren, a trip he w ... [read full post]


Staff Meeting
August 9, 2016 @ 1:24 PM by: Richard Steinecke

 In my “day job”, staff meetings are usually very efficient. We are there to get things done, and done quickly. Wasting time a mortal sin. I totally accept that approach. So I had to change a lot when I began to attend Oasis staff ... [read full post]


Amazed Again
August 5, 2016 @ 6:01 AM by: Richard Steinecke

Usually I am running around in the kitchen cleaning up after the Tuesday community dinner. This week there were actually a lot of people helping there so I got a chance to see what was happening in the eating area. Almost everyone was doing someth ... [read full post]


Here Take It
August 2, 2016 @ 8:08 AM by: Richard Steinecke

On the hottest day of the year I was fanning myself vigorously in the intake office. The room had zero circulation. One of our older community members came in with a striking straw hat. It really suited him, particularly on this day. I remarked on ... [read full post]


Golden Locks
July 29, 2016 @ 7:15 AM by: Richard Steinecke

Our community members have great stories to tell. Their lives have been rich with successes, failures and interesting experiences. Years ago, one community member had managed to colour his dark dreadlocks blond. He was approached on the street by ... [read full post]


Friends in High Places
July 25, 2016 @ 6:08 PM by: Richard Steinecke

The five students and I walked past the office of our local Member of Parliament on our way back to Oasis. She had helped us obtain funding for two of the summer students. I had to pick up a letter of support she had written for us on another gran ... [read full post]


Desperate for Housing
July 21, 2016 @ 5:16 PM by: Richard Steinecke

This week five community members asked for help in finding housing. Some were being evicted. Some could no longer stay in their premises because of various forms of vermin or extremely challenging housemates. One had to find a place in less than t ... [read full post]


Through Their Eyes
July 18, 2016 @ 5:29 AM by: Richard Steinecke

When my daughters were growing up, I read to them the Anne of Green Gables books. Those were books that I mocked when I was growing up and would never have read on my own. However, the pleasure of experiencing the books through the eyes of my daug ... [read full post]


What Do We Provide?
July 14, 2016 @ 5:56 AM by: Richard Steinecke

This summer we have five idealistic, enthusiastic and hardworking summer students with us at Oasis. They have already gone through an intensive training program on the values and policies of Oasis. There was a good discussion about the “firs ... [read full post]


Visiting Other Churches
July 11, 2016 @ 7:23 AM by: Richard Steinecke

One of the best parts of my role at Oasis is visiting churches that are interested in our mission. During the last two Sundays I visited a Hispanic church (service mostly in Spanish) and an African-Canadian church. The music and worship time at bo ... [read full post]


Mr. Encouragement
July 8, 2016 @ 7:11 AM by: Richard Steinecke

One of our beloved staff announced to the community that he was leaving to do advanced studies ‎in British Columbia. He gave a moving address as to how Oasis, and some of the people he had worked, with had inspired him. He also mentioned that ... [read full post]


The Best Thing About Wednesday Mornings
July 4, 2016 @ 6:08 AM by: Richard Steinecke

Wednesday morning Food Bank days are always interesting. No matter how early I arrive, it always begins with greeting the start of our lineup at the front steps. This is followed by setting up a welcoming space and well-appointed food tables. Acco ... [read full post]


Walking Down the Street
June 30, 2016 @ 7:08 AM by: Richard Steinecke

A trip to the Tim Hortons down the road from Oasis on a sunny afternoon made me feel part of the community. While there I met a community member who shared his frustration at the Portuguese football team at the Euro Cup. No sooner had I left the s ... [read full post]


Never a Dull Moment
June 28, 2016 @ 5:23 AM by: Richard Steinecke

I was on intake at the Food Bank for the first time. It was a bit of a challenge for me as I am not intuitive on most computer programs. ‎My first new client was pleasantly talkative. When I asked what languages she spoke, she said: 'English a ... [read full post]


Task Orientated
June 23, 2016 @ 5:49 AM by: Richard Steinecke

As I have mentioned before, I tend to be task orientated. To a fault. The other day I was walking quickly to the subway in order to join my mom for dinner at her retirement home. I could see up ahead that the light was going to change soon. I coul ... [read full post]


Rotten Tomatoes
June 21, 2016 @ 5:58 AM by: Richard Steinecke

The tomato came flying through the air, glancing off the forehead of our intake worker and splattering against the wall. It was followed by a stream of abusive language. She then threw a booklet at another staff person. Our community member accuse ... [read full post]


Making an Impression
June 17, 2016 @ 5:44 AM by: Richard Steinecke

When I first met Simone, Manuel and Jan, they were enthusiastic young adults in their early twenties. As part of an internship experience, they had travelled from Germany to Canada and were already helping out in a local church. They were looking ... [read full post]


What Do We Do that No One Else Does?
June 13, 2016 @ 7:15 AM by: Richard Steinecke

As part of our strategic planning process staff discussed this question. In our vicinity there are a lot of Food Banks and a lot of community dinners. Indeed, every service we offer is also done by others. But in discussion staff members believe t ... [read full post]


Giving Back
June 9, 2016 @ 7:07 AM by: Richard Steinecke

She came storming into to Food Bank slightly out of breath with two heavy bags. “I have some food I want to donate” she panted. I helped her unload the bags. Included were eight containers of pasta sauce, something we were running out ... [read full post]


God Forbid
June 7, 2016 @ 10:40 AM by: Richard Steinecke

I have read and studied the parable of the tenants in Luke 20 many times. When discussing it recently at our Oasis small group Bible study I was taken by the words “God forbid”. This is what the original hearers of the parable said whe ... [read full post]


Caribbean Prayer
June 2, 2016 @ 9:07 AM by: Richard Steinecke

Most groups of people develop their own art forms that reflect, amaze and inspire its members. When Christianity was dominant in a culture, much of the greatest art of the times (e.g., music, writing and painting) reflected Christian themes. Today ... [read full post]


Relative Compassion
May 30, 2016 @ 12:33 PM by: Richard Steinecke

I would have thought that our community members who use the Food Bank and participate in our Community Kitchen would be supportive of their less fortunate homeless brothers and sisters “begging” on the streets. That may not always be t ... [read full post]


Paradox
May 26, 2016 @ 5:19 PM by: Richard Steinecke

One of the great things about parables is their paradoxical nature. Last week we looked at the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. Our discussion leader’s main point is that we often fool ourselves when interpreting life’s experiences ... [read full post]


Breaking the Record
May 24, 2016 @ 4:34 AM by: Richard Steinecke

Most of the time, breaking a record is a good thing. Fastest 10K run. Maximum GDP the country has ever produced. Highest rate of high school graduation ever. However, some records are not worthy of praise. As I write this India reached the hottest ... [read full post]


Conversating
May 21, 2016 @ 5:54 AM by: Richard Steinecke

Clients have often told me that one of my greatest strengths is that I am focused, task orientated and efficient. One of my greatest weaknesses is that I am focused, task orientated and efficient. Last Tuesday I was busily overseeing the clean up ... [read full post]


Soap
May 15, 2016 @ 6:13 PM by: Richard Steinecke

“We will no longer provide soap in the men’s washroom.” Our landlord had had enough. Soap was continuously disappearing. The landlord had installed an expensive dispensing machine firmly affixed to the wall. Inside the machine wa ... [read full post]


After Effects
May 13, 2016 @ 6:07 AM by: Richard Steinecke

Some events disappear into forgotten history immediately. Others have ongoing effects. Our “Be a Food Bank Client for a Morning Event” last Saturday seems to be falling into the second category. Not only has there been an ongoing buzz ... [read full post]


Can You Bring Your Mother to That?
May 8, 2016 @ 5:49 AM by: Richard Steinecke

How many things do we do in our lives where we would feel comfortable bringing our mother? That is a pretty good test to apply to our choices. Yesterday I brought my mom to the special Oasis event “Be a Food Bank Client for a Morning”. ... [read full post]


Learning From Each Other
May 6, 2016 @ 7:08 AM by: Richard Steinecke

We were looking at the parable of the lost coin. I had studied it many times in the past and heard many sermons on it. I thought I knew what it meant. The woman was God and we were the lost coin. But in our group study, one of our community member ... [read full post]


'Please Accept Our Service'
April 30, 2016 @ 5:30 AM by: Richard Steinecke

The staff at Oasis occasionally gather to pray. It is completely voluntary. And it is led by staff, not management. It is almost always very special. At the last meeting one of the staff said, in her prayer, “please accept our service” ... [read full post]


Riding in the Back of a Police Cruiser
April 28, 2016 @ 11:25 AM by: Richard Steinecke

One of our volunteers had been punched in the face and was at the hospital receiving stitches. The police were at Oasis investigating. There were special circumstances and I wanted to offer mediation as an option. The police were fine with that (p ... [read full post]


Certainty
April 25, 2016 @ 5:26 AM by: Richard Steinecke

My eldest daughter had an imaginary friend when she was young, the father of her doll Sarah. No matter how much we established through logic and reason that Sarah’s father did not exist, she always had an answer (usually creative and illogic ... [read full post]


He Never Came Back
April 21, 2016 @ 4:41 PM by: Richard Steinecke

One of our kindest community members always expressed gratitude for everything Oasis did for him. Sometimes he came when he really wasn't suppose to, saying there was no food in the house. We never sent him away empty handed. He brought others fro ... [read full post]


No Beans
April 17, 2016 @ 5:41 AM by: Richard Steinecke

It is such a relief when the food room is full on a Wednesday morning. We were stocked to the rafters. More was piled in our Director’s office. Good thing, since we had a big crowd again today. But we had few beans and even less tuna. We mad ... [read full post]


Camels and Needles
April 14, 2016 @ 8:04 AM by: Richard Steinecke

“I’m just like Jesus”. This was not a grandiose claim of self-importance. Nor was a symptom of an acute mental illness. Our community member was simply identifying with the poverty of Jesus. His point was that Jesus could have ch ... [read full post]


Many in Toronto Facing Hunger
April 8, 2016 @ 5:50 AM by: Richard Steinecke

On April 7, 2016 the Toronto Star published an article entitled: Hunger an issue for one in eight Toronto region households, says new report. It can be found at:

Just Havin' a Conversation

April 7, 2016 @ 6:28 AM by: Richard Steinecke

Recently I sat at a table with four members of our community sharing what I had learned about the Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program at a seminar the week before. I expressed puzzlement at how the system worked. I saw four noddin ... [read full post]


Table of Learning
April 3, 2016 @ 2:43 PM by: Richard Steinecke

$626 a month. That is was a single person receives under Ontario Works (sometimes called welfare or social assistance). The speaker from the local legal aid clinic, which also provides housing assistance, went on to say that the typical one bedroo ... [read full post]


Donor Meeting
March 30, 2016 @ 4:34 PM by: Richard Steinecke

“What do you need the most?” That is a pretty loaded question for a Pastor of one of our major supporting churches to ask. Both Erika (our longest serving staff member) and I had the same answer. And it wasn’t money! (Even though ... [read full post]


Exhaustion
March 24, 2016 @ 7:22 AM by: Richard Steinecke

There is a scene from my favourite Christmas movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, where Jimmy Stewart slams the door shut at closing time at his Savings and Loans Company. There had been a “run on the bank” and he had two dolla ... [read full post]


You Have Been Charged with an Offence
March 21, 2016 @ 5:55 AM by: Richard Steinecke

I had no idea that you could not turn left onto Oasis’ street during rush hour. I had never noticed the sign. But there I was, sitting in front of the early line-up to the Food Bank getting a ticket. The officer actually said “You have ... [read full post]


A Sad Goodbye
March 17, 2016 @ 4:59 PM by: Richard Steinecke

Oasis staff and volunteers presented a cake and card to George Buckingham as he starts a new full-time job. There were a lot of hugs, stories and tears. George has been a fixture for many years at Oasis. He has been a regular volunteer on Tuesdays ... [read full post]


A Big Hit
March 10, 2016 @ 2:11 PM by: Richard Steinecke

World Vision donated seven boxes of adult multi-vitamins. We struggled a bit with how to offer them to our community. Would anyone want them? Should we be promoting them? What instructions for use and warnings should be given? After a lot of discu ... [read full post]


The Germans are Coming! The Germans are Coming!
March 9, 2016 @ 6:41 PM by: Richard Steinecke

For years Liebenzell Mission, based in southwestern Germany, has brought many of its students to Toronto. Because of its diversity, Toronto provides a prime opportunity for future missionaries to develop cross-cultural skills. I suspect it also gi ... [read full post]


How Was Your Day Dear?
March 2, 2016 @ 4:33 PM by: Richard Steinecke

Until recently, when asked about my day, I would respond: “Great. How was your day dear?” And it was true; I love my day-job. Just not a lot new to say.

Today when I was asked I said “Great. So much happened today! I had ... [read full post]


Giddy - February 23, 2016
February 26, 2016 @ 3:38 PM by: Richard Steinecke

Here were grown men, all past 40. Some well past. And they were giddy with excitement. Deliveries today from the Daily Bread Food Bank and Second Harvest had tripled their usual supplies. And it was a lot of work carrying it all to the Food Room a ... [read full post]


The Concept of Time - February 18, 2016
February 26, 2016 @ 3:36 PM by: Richard Steinecke

In their book “When Helping Hurts”, Corbett and Fikkert talk about how different cultures view time. In Canada and the United States, time is viewed as finite resource. Every moment must be used or it is lost forever. To do lists are e ... [read full post]


Celebrating Victories - February 17, 2016
February 26, 2016 @ 3:32 PM by: Richard Steinecke

One of our longest serving and active community members was oozing excitement. He had to speak with me the moment I came in. He had obtained a good full time job that suited his talents. “It has been three years” he told me. I was thri ... [read full post]


Out of the Mouths - February 10, 2016
February 26, 2016 @ 3:29 PM by: Richard Steinecke

The shipment of vitamins from World Vision arrived. Six huge boxes of containers. 180 tablets in each container. Many members of our community will benefit from this. The very next day we had a group of students from two local churches visiting us ... [read full post]


An Accountant's Guide to the Universe
February 26, 2016 @ 3:27 PM by: Richard Steinecke

It was time to go to the kitchen to oversee the cleanup. But a community member was regaling me with facts and figures about the universe. The numbers rolled of his tongue with ease. Billions of years here. Tens of thousands of kilometres an hour ... [read full post]


You're Feeding Them Junk
February 26, 2016 @ 3:25 PM by: Richard Steinecke

The shopping cart was full. Very full. Cases of tomato sauce, beans, and evaporated milk almost obscured the 24 packages of pasta and the oatmeal sitting in the back of the cart. The woman in front of me in the checkout line looked at the cart and ... [read full post]


The Building - January 27, 2016
February 26, 2016 @ 3:22 PM by: Richard Steinecke

The young man sat there quietly. I apologized to him for the wait but most of our intake volunteers were away. He received the apology graciously. He wasn’t into American football. Or politics. Or world events. He was even a bit reluctant to ... [read full post]


Turn the Other Cheek -January 26, 2016
February 26, 2016 @ 3:20 PM by: Richard Steinecke

He had almost been asked to leave. Twice. For his angry verbal outbursts. He had been angry with me for suggesting that he let the “insults” of the others go. I had been criticized for not being a Christian for not taking his side beca ... [read full post]


Pastor - January 20, 2106
February 26, 2016 @ 3:17 PM by: Richard Steinecke

“You are the Pastor, right?” she asked. I replied that I was just a volunteer at the Food Bank. She told me that she thought I was the Pastor because I stood around and talked with people. In fact, she told me, I feel more comfortable ... [read full post]



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