Matthew House Update

Donating

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 have 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 continue to help with groceries, prepared meals, grocery cards and online conversations with our residents.

Finances

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 I 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 dkatto@matthewhouseottawa.org. 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 pick up. 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 arm@matthewhouseottawa.org.

Sincerely,
Allan

Allan Reesor-McDowell
Executive Director
Matthew House Ottawa

Donating Used Household Items

Cleaning out our double garage recently so we can fit at least one vehicle in there this winter, we realized we have lots of gently used household items that could be donated.  From bikes to furniture to garden supplies, donating these items is easier than ever.  I googled each item to find out where to drop them off, discovering lots of options for each.

Bikes

Three sons and two adults can accumulate a lot of bikes over the years.  These bikes have been in our garage for many years although I’m pretty sure we didn’t purchase all of them.  So now we are donating other people’s used items too.  All to a good cause.

I learned there are several places in the Ottawa area that accept donations of used bicycles.  They repair or recondition the bikes then sell them keeping them out of the landfill sites.  Check out their websites for donating rules and hours of operation.

  • Cycle Salvation is located at 473 Bronson Avenue at Gladstone
  • Heartwood House is located at 404 McArthur Ave.
  • Recyclore is located at 275B Britannia Rd.
Furniture

Gently used furniture is another popular item for donating.  I discovered Matthew House, a wonderful initiative offering furniture, support and even shelter and a sense of community to refugees.  Their furniture bank is located at 340 Leggett Drive in Kanata, door #53.  Check out the website for hours of operation, drop off and pick up schedules and other ways to help.

Donating

Other Donating Options

Previously I donated most of my used items to CP, CDA or Value Village.  Recently though I have found both CP and CDA frustrating in that they never picked up my items on the scheduled days.  There was always an excuse, but after a while I gave up.  When I decide to donate (or my husband agrees to part with) an item, I want to do it in a timely fashion, before either of us change our minds.

Another place I have donated items to previously is Value Village.  Mainly because they have a drop off location conveniently close to our home.  However, my brother recently pointed out some suspicious details regarding their business, so I thought I would look elsewhere.

Regardless of where you choose to donate your used household items to, it is easy to do and beneficial to many.