Oasis Community Services
There truly is a need for food banks in Canada. This past year, Oasis served on average 465 families per month. The Oasis Food Bank is open once a week on Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. During that time Oasis serves the community of people who live within the set boundaries in the Dovercourt area. These boundaries are put in place by Daily Bread Food Bank to ensure all people have access to their closest Food Bank.
Oasis has the pleasure to work with and receive food from: Daily Bread Food Bank and Second Harvest Food Bank. The Aurora Food Pantry also frequently donates food to Oasis. The original source of much of this food comes from generous individuals and Oasis thanks you all.
• The first food bank in Canada opened in 1981. In 2005 there were over 635 food banks across the country with an additional 2000 agencies helping hungry people nationwide.
• 997,000 is the number of client visits to Food Banks in Toronto from April 2009 to March 2010
• Over forty per cent of food recipients are children and estimates suggest that almost sixty per cent of households accessing food banks are families with children.
• At Oasis a three to four day supply of groceries is supplied to its Food Bank clients in most cases twice a month.
*Statistics used from the Canadian Association of Food Banks and Daily Bread Food Bank.
When we use the term advocacy we are talking about the power to defend or speak up for others in need or those who are being unjustly treated. At Oasis we advocate with the whole person in mind: physical, emotional and spiritual individual aspects that make up a person.
Physical - We provide emergency food relief, housing assistance, help with translation for basic needs, social assistance visits and health care supports. We also assist with clothing and furniture referrals, immigration information/referrals, and other life skills assistance, when possible.
Emotional and Spiritual - Volunteers at Oasis advocate for other volunteers needing support. Spanish speaking people clearly feel a powerful sense of belonging. Families are empowered to help themselves and support each other to build a community at Oasis and this helps build a brighter future for themselves and their families. Those who come to Oasis not only are tended to physically, but the spiritual aspect is also met. When there is a person who expresses a thirst to find God in His Word and to follow the teachings of Christ, he/she is encouraged to read His Word and all efforts are made to link this person up with a congregation or support group that will assist and nurture him/her.
Immigration Information and Referrals
Oasis has a close connection with refugee shelters that are close in proximity to Oasis – Adam House, Matthew House, and World Vision Reception Centre. Often the newcomers arrive at Oasis with immigration questions and they are provided with information when possible, or given referrals to lawyers or other legal consultants.
Advocacy with Social Assistance Offices
Until the newcomers receive their work permits, they are unable to legally work in Canada; therefore, they must receive social assistance for several months. Oasis assists with this process, helping with telephone intakes to Ontario Works offices and providing translators for the office appointments.
Furthermore, Oasis is a host site for Ontario Works volunteers and we provide a safe place for newcomers to do their volunteer placements as they adjust to Canada.
Frequently, the Oasis staff assists with phone calls to the various Social Assistance offices when clients and volunteers need translators to help them explain their problems and needs.
Since the Oasis staff is bilingual (English/Spanish) there is much demand for translation services to the various government offices, health support services offices, etc. Oasis endeavours to help in this area when sufficient notice is given to the office staff. Furthermore, Oasis staff translates short documents, such as birth and marriage certificates, as well as other short legal documents.
There are several women at Oasis who receive individual and group counseling by a certified therapist. On occasion, new clients can become a part of these groups, and be helped in emotional and spiritual areas.
A Spanish speaking group of seniors meets every third Thursday of the month for food, fellowship, and a time of discussion or presentation of an appropriate theme, which is usually coordinated with seasonal holidays. A delicious lunch is always served and the seniors who come from a variety of Spanish speaking countries enjoy meeting new people and acquiring interesting information about other cultures.
When there are new Christians at Oasis, there is much that can be done to assist them with their development, Christian growth and maturity. Oasis provides group Bible studies for women volunteers and these studies also give the women an opportunity to converse in English.
Since Oasis is a host site for Ontario Works (Welfare) clients to do their volunteer placements, we have a wonderful opportunity to meet people from countries all over the world. Presently we have the following countries represented on our volunteer staff: Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Costa Rica, Albania, El Salvador, Argentina, Nigeria, Egypt, Portugal, Guatemala, Venezuela, Iran, China, Angola, Cuba, Bolivia, Kenya, Russia, Turkey, Bulgaria and Canada. The volunteers occupy various jobs at Oasis, e.g. intake workers in the food bank, hamper room workers, cooks, gardeners, job trainers, data entry, receptionist work, office support people, translators, etc. The needs are great at Oasis and the possibilities are endless.
Not only does Oasis offer volunteer opportunities for many, but also is able to serve these people as they adjust to the Canadian culture. Oasis offers the volunteers advocacy services and also assists them with basic necessities.