Compass Point Bible Church: ReFresh Foods Member Agency
This article was published on April 28, 2014
It all started simply and innocently enough seven years ago, when Esperanza Peacock of Compass Point Bible Church asked her good friend and community neighbour, Mina Wahidi at Compassion Society, where she was getting food to provide to their clients. When she found out about Food for Life and ReFresh Foods, she immediately seized the opportunity to drive to our warehouse to become one of our new partners. Even better, Compass Point became one of our delivery points – bringing fresh food right to their doorstep. In one easy step, they had broken down one of the challenging barriers in the food bank system: a lack of transportation often prevents individuals from accessing food.
The provision of food, however, is just the start of this wonderful story. The people in need being served by Compass Point are diverse – from children to seniors, single parents and families, physical and intellectual disabilities – but what they have in common is their desire to have a sense of belonging, and to step away from the stigma most often associated with poverty and hunger. Just as diverse are the volunteers helping serve the clients, as Compass Point has been fortunate to attract many individuals and groups to pitch in, including the Girl Guides and local youth hockey teams.
The program at Compass Point has enabled them to provide another welcome event, community dinners at Glad Tidings Church in Burlington, with most of the food provided by ReFresh Foods. Twice a month, they become the “hub of the neighbourhood” as they help feed 200 people (and almost twice that at Christmas time) by providing salad, meat, pasta, fruit, pastries – served within an environment of comfort and respect. It is at these dinners where the community is built, as clients share stories of their personal background and experiences right alongside the program volunteers who serve and eat with everyone. Couple that with donated flowers and decorations and this event demonstrates the true meaning of togetherness.
The incredible team at Compass Point has taken their service to the community to another level, as they have also provided access to donated furniture, clothing, shelter, and ESL education. But if you ask Esperanza Peacock, it is the environment and surroundings that are the most precious gifts they give, where they can address these basic human needs. They provide a place where people can feel relaxed, comfortable and included. In return, the clients enjoy getting involved because the program gives them purpose and a strong feeling of belonging.
If you look up the word ‘community’ in the dictionary, one of the definitions you will read is this: a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals. If you look up Esperanza Peacock and Compass Point Bible Church in the dictionary, you will read: a shining example of how to build a sense of ‘community’.