A local church is partnering with others in the community to support neighbours with meals, groceries, social programming and more…and it’s working!
St. Christopher’s Church in Burlington operates Open Doors as an outreach ministry to build resiliency and community.
“A lot of our programming is centred around food, since food is a connector, it brings people together,” said Open Doors Director, Christina Mulder. “We have a community garden, a community market, and we serve community meals.”
According to Mulder, the need is only increasing in the first three months of 2023. “Right now, we are on track to a record-breaking year,” she said.
“Our garden supplies our two weekly meals and our community market, during the harvest season. We also have a free clothing store, seniors’ seminars and programming, and annual events like our backpack program in August, and Christmas Families program in December,” she explained.
“Open Doors also has programming for seniors on Thursdays,” said Mulder. “We do a special lunch, and activities, such as workshops or speakers, that are geared to seniors, or that our participants have requested. We have yoga twice a month, and BINGO is another activity that is very popular. We survey our seniors several times a year for requests. We have also done baking and gardening workshops,” she finished.
Mulder emphasized that Open Doors is just that, and that no one who comes to the door will be turned away.
“We want to take the stigma away from asking for help,” she said. “If you come, we will help you. We encourage full participation from everyone at Open Doors to combat the negative stereotypes around food security and provide dignified access to all. You will often see some of our volunteers or staff grab a bag of bread or some fruit on their way home,” she said.
Open Doors is always looking for more volunteers, and donations are gratefully accepted and can be made through the church office or the website. “We would love to open the clothing shop and food market during our seniors’ days, but we don’t currently have the volunteer capacity to do so,” Mulder explained. “The seniors have asked for it and we would really like to make that happen,” she concluded.
Open Doors is located in the St. Christopher’s Church building at 662 Guelph Line in Burlington. Currently, it is open from 3:30 to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays, noon to 2 p.m. on Thursdays for seniors’ lunch and programming, and Saturday mornings from 9:30 a.m. to 12 noon for shopping at the market and clothing shop.
To become involved in volunteering, email [email protected] to get started.
Donations for the clothing store or community market are warmly accepted Monday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., in a contactless black bin provided at the North side doors of the building.
Monetary donations are gratefully accepted by donating online or dropping by the church during business hours.