OSHARE-Logo full 

By Cathy Hird and Peggy Moulaison

What is the measure of a healthy society? Sometimes we use GDP, but for me that hides the way the money is distributed. We can use unemployment figures, but those numbers mask the people who have stopped looking for work and the large number of older and younger people who cannot get work.

Some theologians argue that the measure of a community is the way we care for the poor and vulnerable among us. One of the ways our community serves is the meal provided by OSHaRE. It is not a good thing that this service is needed: hungry people are a reminder that there are significant economic inequities in our area. But OSHaRE (Owen Sound Hunger and Relief Effort) grew out of broad based co-operation between churches and community services. It provides food for people who would otherwise be hungry. It provides community for those who come to eat as well as for those who volunteer. Because so many people are involved, the meals help to break down the barriers between haves and have nots in our community.

I asked Peggy Moulaison, the OSHaRE Director of Operations, to describe their service.

OSHaRE has been providing a hot, nutritious meal for those in need in our community from Monday to Friday, regardless of holidays, since February 2013. A number of people from local churches wanted to know if there was a need for an evening meal in our community. After researching, public meetings and visitation to a similar group in Woodstock, OSHaRE was born!

How are We Funded?
We are a non-profit, charitable organization that relies on financial and food donations! We receive donations from churches, businesses, individuals and other organizations and groups. We also apply for grants from different foundations, businesses and municipalities.

Who eats at OSHaRE?
OSHaRE is open to anyone and everyone; there is not set criteria to eat here. Some of the people who eat here are on some form of disability income and struggle to make ends meet every month, while others have a job, but maybe it's part time and not enough to make ends meet. A lot of those eating at OSHaRE also go to the Food Bank once a month. The majority of those eating are single, middle aged males. We also have teenagers, single women and families with small children.

OSHaRE is a very social place and gives people a sense of community. People come not just to eat, but to socialize with their friends and neighbours. It's no fun eating alone! During meal time, from 5to 6 pm, it's very noisy with chatting, laughing and sharing!

OSHaRE Commitment
At OSHaRE, we are committed to providing a safe, respectful, caring environment to those who eat here. We have some rules and regulations in order to ensure that everyone is comfortable. We are also here to listen to the stories of their lives and to treat each one of them with respect.

OSHaRE Volunteers
OSHaRE has approximately 130 volunteers! We could not operate with them! Our volunteers either help in the kitchen to help prepare food or help in the evening to serve the meal and clean up afterwards. Our volunteers work once a month and are very dedicated to providing a caring, respectful service. We also have volunteers who help out in the office and our Board of Directors are all volunteers. They are so very much appreciated by OSHaRE and those eating!

OSHaRE Fundraising
OSHaRE is very fortunate to have a number of groups, businesses and organizations that often organize a fundraiser for us! We are truly grateful!
We also have a few fundraisers of our own! In the Fall, we have our Soup Luncheon, which consists of soup donated by local restaurants, a dinner roll, veggies, dessert and tea or coffee! This year, we are doing a new fundraiser – A Bake Sale on June 20th! Most of the baking will be donated by local churches.

OSHaRE is making a difference in people's lives. Having nourishment can be the difference between despair and dignity, sadness and happiness, bad health and good health and from being non-confident to being confident. Food is vital to the well-being of every human being and therefore, contributes to the well-being of the community as a whole.


CopyRight ©2015, ©2016, ©2017 of Hub Content
is held by content creators