Chalmers people work hard to improve the lives of others, especially locally. Many people are active in community and global initiatives, often in conjunction with other churches and faiths. We also come together to serve and enhance the lives of those around us. At times fundraisers are held to benefit the Benevolent Fund and/or communities suffering from disaster, such as the hurricane in Haiti, or to fund special programs.
Chalmers Benevolent Fund Program
Thanks to generous donors, 100% of donations is directed towards supporting those people who come to Church House in need, on Tuesday mornings. Among those, are people who are marginalized, or in crisis. They live here in our community. Over 1,400 people have visited for assistance. This has translated into thousands of interactions with people during the past ten years. Discouragingly, the need continues to increase. Many people who come are on ODSP – Ontario Disability Support Program and cannot make ends meet. A single person could receive up to $1,128 monthly, of which $479 is designated for housing. The average rent for a one-bedroom in Kingston however, is $942. Those on OW – Ontario Works receive $706, forcing many to stay in shelters, since rental of a bachelor unit averages $694.*1
Assistance from the Chalmers Benevolent Program takes the form of providing $10 grocery gift card(s) to Metro or Food Basics and/or $1 meal ticket(s) to Martha’s Table. Special Assistance is also considered when needs arise.
When people come in for help, a conversation takes place to establish if there are other needs that the volunteer team can help them with. Surprisingly people often hear about information and resources available to them in Kingston for the first time. We share what the options are, where people can go or what they can do, to receive further help. They are also provided with a “Where to Turn for Assistance in Kingston and Area” brochure and a list of free daily meals in the community.
Chalmers now has a Blessing Box, accessible 24/7. It is regularly stocked with donations of laundry soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, and available food items such as canned beans, Kraft dinner, tuna, and granola bars. Thank you to Peter Drugstore for bottles of shampoo and conditioner donations. And to the Women of Chalmers and other donors who are donating cases of toilet paper on a regular basis to the Benevolent Program. A survey conducted last year showed a wish list to receive more grocery cards, Giant Tiger gift cards (for underwear etc.), bus passes, assistance with dental care, and opportunities to work and give back. We hope to find ways to further assist in the future.
We are proud of our team of compassionate volunteers and you, our donors and supporters, who help make Chalmers “A Good Neighbour Church”.
We can only hope that over time, our society will find more ways of helping low-income individuals and families attain adequate housing, food, and health and dental care. Covid 19 has certainly not been of help.
OutReach at Chalmers
Joint Truth and Reconciliation Action Group
In 2016, Chalmers and Sydenham St. United Churches and St. Mark’s Lutheran Church formed a Joint Truth and Reconciliation Action Group that seeks:
- To educate ourselves and others on the legacy of colonialist policies and practice on Canada’s first peoples, including hosting events;
- To listen, learn and share new knowledge about the priorities, opportunities and options for reconciliation of Canada’s many peoples;
- To participate in events and other activities on behalf of the group;
- To work with others to advance these goals;
- To share information on events being held within the broader community on indigenous culture and history, public policy and related themes.
The Group reports to the outreach and social justice committees within each congregation.
Lay representatives from Chalmers and Sydenham Street United Churches and others who share an interest in and commitment to advancing reconciliation with Canada’s first peoples and changing the future are invited to participate. Meetings are normally held monthly. If you are interested in being a part of this movement towards reconciliation, contact Rosemary MaLachlan: (emailto<email@example.com>)
Chalmers Outreach Committee
Chalmers Outreach Committee also works to help support other local charities as well as the Queen’s University Kenya Health Outreach Project.
Mission and Service Fund
The work of the Uni ted Church of Canada across the country and around the world is funded by the Mission and Service (M&S) Fund which raised $27.8 million in 2019: Global Mission & Service: $4.8 million ($2.9M in direct grants); Community and Justice Work: $5.4 million ($1.2M in direct grants);
Theological Education and Vocation of Ministry Support: $1.7 million ($1.2M in direct grants);
Faith Formation: $4.9 million ($0.3M in direct grants);
Support to Local Ministries: $6.2 million ($1.5M in direct grants);
National Indigenous Church: $4.8 million ($1.9M in direct grants).
in 2019, Chalmers congregants donated $36,476 to M&S. These funds provide for hospital and university chaplains, prepare and educate church leaders, provide inner city and rural mission support in Canada and funding to our partner churches and organizations around the world.