Updatable blog section
We at The Open Door are entering the new year of 2015 with such excitement, joy and gratitude!
2014 was another big year at The Open Door. We marvel at the many ways that different churches, community groups, businesses and individuals come together to help those in need in our community. We are so thankful for the thousands of people we have been able to help over the past year. What we hear over and over again from those who come in for help is that what moves them the most and gives them such hope is to know that their community loves and cares for them. That they are not alone.
In 2014 we had over 50 different churches provide meals for our community through our Thursday night dinners, Wednesday and Saturday lunches. Thursday dinners alone see 50 plus people with the lunches serving approximately 20 to 30 people. Countless more church and community groups helped us sort our immense clothing donations so that we could distribute free clothing to 100 families per month. We had other church groups donate their time, expertise, talents and supplies to finish our Open Door space and Distribution Room. We had several churches and community groups organize large food drives for us. The food cupboard is a very busy place and serves several famillies six days per week. Several churches came together to enable us to help approximately 200 students with backpacks and school supplies this past September. Three churches held Thanksgiving dinners for our clients. Christmas was another incredible time - over 335 people attended one of our Christmas meals and each person who attended was immensely blessed by the time together with family, community, beautifully catered meals and then also with presents and gift cards to be able to have their in-home Christmas needs met. Of course, all of this was distributed free of charge.
We give thanks for the year that was and are so excited for the year that is coming. We know that God has big plans in store!
And, of course, it wouldn't be The Open Door if we didn't leave you with a story to encourage you. This is one of our favourite stories from 2014.
One of our families who received Back to School help is headed by a widow who is a single mom of six kids. She has always worked very hard to support her children but was injured at work and was waiting for surgery. Things were very tight for this family and mom had no money to pay for extra costs such as backpacks. When this family came in to get their backpacks mom was in tears and the kids were jumping in excitement at the beautiful backpacks. Mom was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love from their community and were so thankful that God had provided for their needs.
A few weeks after receiving the backpacks this mom called The Open Door and asked if someone could meet her at the curb to bring in some donations that she had. In the past this mom has dropped off clothing and toys that her children had outgrown so we assumed it was those items. Imagine our great surprise when we get up there and the mom hobbles over to us with some groceries that she had purchased for our food cupboard! She said it was very important to her to give back to say thanks to God and His people for all that they've done for her and her family. It was an incredibly sacrifical donation but one that she really wanted to make.
Meanwhile, another single mom who works so hard had been really struggling to make ends meet. This mom would travel over 40 minutes by bus to get to work for 5am. She had given us a list of food items that she was desperate for. Unfortunately our cupboard was pretty bare and we didn't have a lot of the items. As we started processing the food donated by the first mom we were in tears as we realized that 95% of the second mom's list of needs were sitting right there in that cart! The rest of the food that the mom needed came in from another family who used to need help from The Open Door but are now in a position where they no longer need help and are able to give back.
What a great joy and honour it is to be at The Open Door serving those in need!
We are always amazed at the ways in which God responds to our prayers. As you know from our last post, we are in great need of food and diapers. Although we get low we know never to worry because God always provides.
On Tuesday afternoon two lovely ladies dropped by The Open Door. They came bearing gifts -- two large boxes of diapers and a box of wipes! It was an awesome surprise but it was even more beautiful to hear the way in which they had come in to The Open Door that day. One of the ladies' mothers had heard Lynne speak at The World Day of Prayer in early March. This mother had been really moved by the stories Lynne shared of God's work at The Open Door and she shared some of the stories with her daughter. It had been on these two ladies' minds to come by and they were finally able to do so this week. They wanted to bring something with them but they weren't sure what to bring. "Randomly" (or, so they thought) they felt they should bring in diapers. They had no idea of our great need for them! These ladies faithfully listened to the promptings of God and their gifts have ministered to so many families in our community.
The story doesn't end there. As we were visiting with these ladies and sharing more stories an excited mom came in with her 5 month old baby son. We first met this mom about a month ago, just after a flood in their apartment had claimed most of this young family's possessions. The mom was especially excited this day because she wanted to show off her son in the clothes he received from our Clothing Distribution Day the week prior. Mom was doubly blessed to find out that we actually had diapers she could take that day. There are a lot of challenges as this family rebuilds and starts over, but the love and support of their community makes it so much more bearable.
The two ladies bearing diapers and wipes came in because of stories they had heard and left with their own story. It is these little acts - listening to the promptings of God and following through, that can make all the difference in someone else's life and in our own.
We have so much to be grateful for at The Open Door. It is such a privilege to be in the centre of the busy marketplace of Square One serving those in our community who have all different kinds of needs. As the summer months come upon us we often see a decline in the number of donations but not in the number of people we are serving. We are currently in great need of the following items:
Non-perishable Food Items:
- Canned vegetables
- Canned fruit
- Canned meats (i.e. tuna, salmon, corned beef, etc)
- Pasta sauce
- Kraft Dinner
- Pudding cups
- Juice boxes
Diapers (any size) and Baby Formula
- Shampoo and conditioner
We are so grateful for any help.
We are so in awe of all that God is doing at The Open Door! The Christmas season was an incredible time of helping those in need in our community. We had well over 200 people in attendance at our annual Christmas dinner and another 150+ families taken care of in their homes with provision for food to prepare their Christmas dinners and gifts for each family member.
What we hear over and over again from those who receive assistance from The Open Door is that it's not so much about the stuff they receive (which they are very, very grateful for), but it's about knowing that people in the community care about them and that they are not alone as they journey through the hardships they face.
Just two weeks ago we met a man who had badly burned his hand. Living on a small pension he did not have the money to pay for his prescriptions. He had gone 4 days without pain killers -- the prescription was only $15. Thankfully we had Wal Mart gift cards donated to us by a group of individuals. Using those gifts we were able to fill his prescription. Through further discussion we learned that he hadn't really been eating as he couldn't use his bad hand and he was in so much pain. Someone else had donated Tim Horton's cards so we were able to give him those to buy meals and much needed coffee in this cold weather. The man was so overwhelmed, he could not believe that this type of provision existed. As he was about to leave we noticed that he wasn't wearing any gloves or a hat. That particular week we were hitting temperatures into the -20s with the windchill. As we dug through our wonderful knitted donations we found the perfect mitt - it was short but very wide, the perfect size to slide over his bandages! The man left with a renewed sense of hope, he was amazed at how all of these things had come in at just the right time just for him.
We are very excited for this new year at The Open Door. We are so grateful for this website and look forward to updating it much more frequently to keep everyone in the loop about the wonderful things happening at The Open Door.
--Lynne, Jen & Krista, The Open Door Team
2012 Open Door Back to School Stories
As we write this it’s only 7 September and thanks be to God we have been able to provide almost 150 kids with backpacks and school supplies. As more donations come in we continue to put together backpacks and supplies for those on our waitlist. When we are finished we expect to have provided for approximately 200 kids. We have so, so many wonderful stories to share and it has been difficult to select just a few to share with you. Below you will find just some of the amazing ministry stories from our back to school program. We are so thankful to you for your partnership with us as we minister to those in need in our community of Mississauga.
Lynne, Jen and Krista
The Colour Purple
When we put the school bags together we pray and ask God to help us match the bags and supplies with the right kids. After filling the backpacks with school supplies we put all of the bags for the families in garbage bags and label them for distribution. The Friday before school started a little girl going into grade 3 came into the Open Door with her mom to get her backpack. The girl was wearing a beautiful purple dress and she told us that purple is her favourite colour. In fact, her mom told us that everything this little girl owns is purple! We pulled out the family’s garbage bag and had a look inside. To our surprise we found a beautiful purple backpack with the little girl’s name on it. The girl was so happy that with joy she exclaimed “how did you know I wanted a purple backpack!?” Lynne replied “we didn’t know, but who do you think would have known?” The girl thought about it and then said “God?” We told her that we believe God chose it for her and that He’d be with her as she goes back to school. The girl was so encouraged, she had been nervous about going back to school and she found comfort in knowing that God sees her and loves her so much that He even provided her with a purple backpack.
This past winter we began ministering to a beautiful family from Columbia. This family comprised of a single mom and six kids came to Canada as refugees. One of the boys is actually adopted; his parents (the mom’s brother and sister-in-law) were tragically killed in a car accident and the little boy was the sole survivor. Our first encounter with them was so touching as the mom came with two of the boys. We invited them to pick out toys from our toy chest and were surprised that both boys were only picking out girl’s toys. They explained to us that only one of the six kids is a girl (she’s the second youngest) and that she always has to play with boy toys so they wanted to get her some girl toys. We were so grateful to provide this family with school supplies, with kids in grades 7, 5, 1 and two in grade 3 the mom had no idea how she’d be able to get enough supplies for everyone.
Shoes and Backpacks
A woman came into the Open Door in obvious distress. We took her into the chapel and found out that she had been laid off 2 months ago. She is a single mom of two children, a boy in grade 7 and a daughter in grade 4. This little family is homeless, currently living with friends in a tiny unit. The mom was upset because she didn’t have the money to buy her kids backpacks or shoes so she had been keeping them home from school. Thanks be to God that late the afternoon before we had some Wal Mart gift cards donated to us. With the gift cards we were able to go to Wal Mart and purchase running shoes for the kids. The mom was so grateful to receive the backpacks, school supplies and shoes for her kids. This mom desperately wants to work and has been searching for the past two months but in the mean time she will need to get some social assistance as she conducts her job search. This woman doesn’t own a phone so it’s been difficult for her to arrange it. We found out that she hadn’t eaten in a day so we fed her lunch and as she was eating we got a surprise call from Deb, our Region of Peel Outreach Worker, that she was five minutes away and planning to drop by for a visit! God’s timing is always so perfect. Deb was able to meet with this mom and get her all set up for social assistance.
The Working Poor
So many of our clients are the working poor; people who are working so hard and just can’t seem to get ahead. One such woman is a single mom of 3. Two years ago her husband unexpectedly left the family and moved out the country. The mom is now trying to support the family off the wages she makes as a Personal Support Worker as she does not receive any child support. She works through an agency so her hours are very irregular and thus so is her pay. It was a huge blessing for her when she learnt that we could help her with school supplies for her kids in grades 9, 8 and kindergarten.
Welcome to the Open Door web site! Now that we are on the NET you will be able to keep up with all that is going on here.
This is our News and Events section. We will post regular updates here and you can also explore the site to find out all about us.
Be sure to check out the Contact Us page and let's get to know one another.
We are happy to be a part of the community in Mississauga and are blessed to be able to reach out to so many in need.
We are also able to accept online donations and thank you for your help and support.
Together we can continue to make a difference in the lives of people as we live up to our motto: "Love Me, Love My People."
Thanks for visiting.