Three years ago, a group of caring Thoroldites felt compelled to meet and improve their city.
“We were inspired to do something to help care for our community, and work towards the betterment of our city,” Pastor Terence Schilstra told the Thorold News.
Following that first prayer breakfast, a volunteer movement known as OneThorold sprang into being. Members began meeting regularly and since then, have made positive strides in identifying the city’s most vulnerable citizens and helping them, whether by simply connecting on an individual basis, through city-wide food drives, or other social initiatives.
As Pastor of “The Table,” a downtown Thorold church, “Helping the homeless is something that’s close to my heart,” Schilstra explained.
“Our philosophy is to live and serve among the urban poor, and enhance their quality of life. The statistical data shows that one in four children living in downtown Thorold is classified as living in poverty,” because their housing, food and/or clothing are not deemed as “suitable, according to poverty standards.”
OneThorold strives to “cultivate the art of neighbouring here in Thorold,” noted Schilstra, adding, “Community is a place where we can share our challenges and struggles, and other things happening in our life. Feeling connected has been proven to help “boost mental health.”
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“At a grassroots level, with their ear to the ground in the community, members have talked to movers and shakers and asked them to be neighbourhood champions on their street. It could be as simple as finding ways to stay connected with neighbours,” Schilstra said, especially those who are physically challenged or isolated, a situation that's multiplied during the pandemic. Residents use door hangers, checking off items they need.
“OneThorold has grown in momentum. The hope is that others who see and are inspired will be moved to help, too.”
All Thorold residents are invited to tune in and learn more this Tuesday, Nov. 24 at 7:15 a.m., when the Thorold Ministerial (also known as One Church Thorold) hosts its 3rd annual Thorold Leaders Prayer Breakfast via Zoom, with the theme: “A Caring Community.”
The virtual meeting will give Thoroldites a chance to connect with local leaders over breakfast from home via Zoom with various Thorold churches, businesses, community organizations, and public services. It will be an uplifting and welcoming experience, stated Schilstra.
Pastor Ken MacQuarrie, a visionary founder of OneThorold, and Mayor Terry Ugulini will speak, and One Thorold members will describe their progress in developing “neighbourhood hubs” throughout the city, and the housing committee’s efforts in developing local housing solutions with community-supports for Thorold’s homeless and precariously housed population.
The event will close with prayer for the ongoing work and for the various leaders and organizations that serve the city.
“We want to pray and seek the heart of God,” Schilstra said. “We believe that God is the key to transformation, and we truly believe that faith is central to peace.”
Anyone wishing to participate in the Prayer Breakfast is asked to register and request the Zoom link by emailing email@example.com.
“I will also be sending out a link so people can e-transfer,” he added. All donations received will be split 50/50 between Thorold Community Care and the Thorold Ministerial, to help support food and housing.
Kelly Liddycoat and Rick Westlake, owners of Bocchinfuso Funeral Home, have pledged “to match all donations up to $500 to help towards the transformation of our city.”
The deadline to register for the meeting is Monday, Nov. 23 by 5 p.m.