Matthew House Update

Matthew House

As a recent donor, I received this letter from Matthew House recently to update me on their status during the COVID-19 pandemic.  I thought I would pass it on to you.

Thanks to each of you who has supported Matthew House and the people we serve during this difficult time. We continue to be so grateful for the encouragement and support of our community.

Several of you have checked in recently and requested an update, so I thought it was time to bring you up to speed as to where things are at with Matthew House Ottawa and our programs amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks for your interest and concern.

Furniture Bank

Demand remains strong for our furniture bank services. After consulting with Ottawa Public Health, the City of Ottawa, and the province we re-opened a pared-down version of our furniture bank operations with physically-distanced pickups and deliveries. Our warehouse remains closed to the public, so we have developed a new system where we select essential items for clients and make curbside deliveries of furniture without the need for any physical interaction.

Our goal during this crisis is to furnish the homes of the most vulnerable families who are in dire need of furniture essentials, and so far so good: we have been able to furnish 8 homes a week since we re-opened. We are grateful for the opportunity to continue serving families in need.

Refugee Services

Thankfully, our residents and staff are following public health guidelines and have remained healthy.

Demand for beds at Matthew House has been very high, and in partnership with Bethany Baptist Church, we have developed a protocol for safe intakes of new residents in order to meet the ongoing need for beds. We are grateful to continue welcoming refugees during a challenging time.

We and our residents miss our volunteers greatly, but we really appreciate the many ways that our community of supporters continues to help with groceries, prepared meals, grocery cards, and online conversations with our residents.


We have seen a large reduction in income from our refugee services and (especially) furniture bank programs, due to the COVID-19 crisis. But thankfully, our losses over the last 6 weeks have been significantly offset by the generosity of our donors, a grant $10,000 grant from the Ottawa Community Foundation’s emergency relief fund, and a $40,000 loan and a wage subsidy (between 10%-75%) from the federal government.

While we continue to face many challenges and welcome your financial support, we have much to be grateful for!

How can You Help?

If you are able, we welcome your ongoing support to help make the work of Matthew House Ottawa possible. Here are some ways that you can help right now:
Donations: you can give online here or cheques can be mailed to 380 Centrepointe Drive, Ottawa ON K2G 6A1.

Become a monthly donor:

If you are open to it, please consider setting up a monthly donation to support our programs. The consistent support from our monthly donors has been a HUGE help during this time, and we would encourage you to give in this way if you are able. You can set up a monthly donation here – just click “donate monthly” tab at the top of the page. Call me if you have any questions: 613-255-0168.

Refugee Services:

If you want to support our refugee services program, please be in touch with Doreen at 613-262-3643 or We welcome donations of grocery cards (or groceries and frozen meals) to help feed the refugees we have welcomed at the house, though we ask that you please contact Doreen in advance to make arrangements.

Furniture Bank:

If you have gently used furniture you no longer need, please give us a call at 613-591-6681 to discuss options for a safe pickup. And please spread the word among your networks as well. [Please note that our furniture warehouse and showroom will not be open to the public for the duration of the pandemic, so drop-offs of donated items are NOT being accepted at this time. Please call furniture bank at 613-591-6681 if you have any questions.

Thanks again for your supporting the work of Matthew House Ottawa. I am so grateful!

May God bless you and keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy.  This is an unusual and unsettling time, but we will get through it.
Please don’t hesitate to be in touch if you have any questions: 613-255-0168 or


Allan Reesor-McDowell
Executive Director
Matthew House Ottawa

Shepherds of Good Hope Grateful for Donations

Shepherds of Good Hope

Recently I was helping a friend clean out her closet in anticipation of a move to a retirement residence. We ended up with three large bags of clothing, purses, and the like to donate. I promised her I would look into donating her beautiful (she has great taste in clothing) and cherished items to a women’s shelter or a similar organization. Thanks to Google, I discovered there is a branch of the Shepherds of Good Hope not far from my home here in suburban Kanata.

Shepherds of Good Hope

The Shepherds of Good Hope is a haven for both men and women requiring shelter, support, stability, and as their name implies, hope. Our original intention was to donate the clothing to a women’s shelter, but those I contacted were not accepting clothing at this time.

When I dropped the donations off, I was offered a tour of their “boutique” where volunteers organize and display all donated items. Whatever they cannot use onsite, they take to the Shepherds of Good Hope downtown Ottawa location.

When I called my friend to tell her that her donations were well appreciated, she told me she has more to go. I guess I inspired her!

Donate Used Clothing to BBBSO

donate used clothing

Did you know that who you donate used clothing to has become a competition? Many organizations (charitable and otherwise) have contracts with distributors to make money from your donations of clothing and small household items.  This is not a problem when the proceeds fall into the right hands, to be used for the right reasons. Unfortunately, there are those that prey on the opportunities intended to promote generosity and compassion for the less fortunate.  Donation bins are popping up everywhere, and not always in approved locations.  If not approved and supported by the City of Ottawa, they will be removed.

If you wish to keep reusable items out of our overflowing landfills and support a non-profit organization that provides mentors to at-risk youngsters in our community, check out this option.  The Ottawa branch of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Association (BBBSO) is spreading the word and dropping off their distinctive purple bins to collect donations of old clothing. These PURPLE BINS are approved by the City of Ottawa, maintained, and monitored by the BBBSO, with all proceeds going to the BBBSO.

donate used clothing

There are many ways you can support the Big Brothers and Big Sisters program. You can donate used clothing, money, or your time by mentoring a youngster.  The emergence of the purple bins in Ottawa has now made it even easier for individuals and organizations to provide support in our community.   Businesses can organize a clothing drive or apply to have a purple bin (maintained and monitored by BBBSO) at their location.

The Big Brothers and Big Sisters program has always been somewhat of a tradition in the Sliter (my maiden name) family.  My cousin was the first executive director and co-founder at the Cornwall branch for many years.  My brother, nephew and I have all mentored several youngsters.   My nephew is a past president and member of the board of directors here in Ottawa. When he was living in Ottawa, he even used his truck to drop off purple bins at approved locations.

Check out the purple bin link for details on how you can get involved in this wonderful cause.  You may start a family tradition!