Community Advocacy Office

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COVID19 Update:

Please note that currently the Community Advocacy Office is operating remotely. Please call (613-267-6428 ext 29) or email (advocacy@thetablecfc.org) and a Community Navigator will return your call during our regular office hours.

 

The Community Advocacy Office is located downstairs at The Table on the same floor as the Good Food Bank. The office is run by community members with lived experience of living on low-incomes and navigating government programs and other resources in our local area.

Community Navigators are available to offer resources, referrals, and support on a wide array of issues from applying for help with utility bills, to replacing lost identification, to helping fill out paperwork, to conducting a housing search, to discussing your options in a difficult situation. The office is open to all community members and no appointment is needed.

In some cases, your interaction with us may be like asking for directions, and just need to be pointed in the right direction. In other cases, it may be more like visiting an information centre when arriving at a new place, where you have some understanding of what your needs are, but may need some more detailed conversations and perhaps a map or two to figure out where you need to go. 

In other cases, you may be dealing with a more complex situation, or be stuck waiting for the help you need from more formal organizations, and you may find us helpful as companions on your journey to help read the map, check in regularly, and maybe make some calls on your behalf while you focus on the road ahead. 

No matter what, you are the one in the “driver’s seat”. We are here to help you get where you’re going.

Monday, 2 - 5pm; Tuesday, 12 - 3:30pm; Wednesday, 3:30 - 6pm; Friday, 2 - 5pm

613-267-6428 x29, advocacy@thetablecfc.org 

Advocacy Initiatives

Starting Tuesday April 21st from 8:30 - 9:30 The Table will be offering a four week workshop on mindfulness and meditation. This drop-in workshop is open to everyone- from those who are experienced in the practice of meditation to those who are curious to know what it is all about- join us as we figure out how to be more mindful in our daily lives. 

Stick around after the session and join up with the Smooth Moves group as they prepare smoothies and stroll through town at 10:00

For more information please contact the Community Advocacy Office at 613-267-6428 ext. 29 or email advocacy@thetablecfc.org

 
What kinds of food do you offer to a person experiencing homelessness, couch surfing, or otherwise living without the means to prepare or keep their food refrigerated? This is a question the staff at The Table Community Food Centre have to grapple with on a regular basis. While equitable access to healthy food is their focus, and is what typically gets people to the Centre, it is rarely the only issue community members are contending with.

When Lanark County Social Housing announced a one-time grant opportunity under their Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative the Table Community Food Centre jumped at the chance to apply for funds to work toward addressing a serious social problem in our community, housing. The staff at The Table is thrilled to announce that the County has approved our request for $28,000, over two years for our Advocacy Program to work on housing issues.

Why is a community food centre addressing housing issues? The Table recognizes that participants accessing the Centre are often coping with a variety of issues over and above the need for food. While their main focus is firmly rooted in connecting people to healthy food they are also committed to assisting low income participants with other issues resulting from or exacerbated by poverty. Over the past year The Table’s Advocacy Office was open 162 days and saw 343 visits by 134 distinct community members. The number one issue people sought assistance with was housing; housing searches, homelessness, mold issues and repairs, inability to pay utilities/rent, hoarding, landlord disputes and more. 

The Table will use this grant to get creative about how they work with low income community members on issues that are known to have a high impact on community members’ ability to retain housing: addiction/harm reduction, mental health, employment opportunities, education and skill development, domestic violence, budgeting, nutrition, and more. Over the next two years The Table’s Advocacy Program will offer workshops, training and information sessions and individual support to interested low income community members. Training sessions will include workshops on tenant and landlord rights for both tenants and landlords.

One of the unique elements of the project will be developed and delivered in partnership with the Lanark County Community Justice Program. The two groups will collaborate to train peer advocates in the restorative justice model. Once trained, the advocates will apply their new skills to working with landlords and low income renters to find mutually agreeable solutions, reducing the use of the formal Landlord Tenant Board process and preventing evictions.

The Table’s Advocacy Office offers resources, support and referrals to community members on wide array of issues ranging from help replacing lost identification, filling out forms, accompanying people to appointments, assisting people in their housing search and more. The office is staffed by trained peer advocates who have their own experiences of living on low incomes and navigating social services. Anyone in need of assistance with an issue who is unsure where to go or what to do, should consider reaching out to the advocates.

A version of this post was published in the Perth Courier on March 12th.

 

 

The Work That Reconnects is a group empowerment tool and a generator of energy that flows from our awakened connections and into our deepening motivations towards the healing of our world.

John Eastcott will facilitate the group in the creation of a safe, supportive space for this day- long workshop.

Participants should bring a cushion for sitting on the floor and anything else you'll need to be comfortable. The workshop will begin promptly at 9:00 am. Please plan to arrive between 8:30 - 8:45 in order to get settled in and ready for the day. Tea, coffee, water, snacks and lunch will be provided.

For more information or to register please contact the Community Advocacy Office at 613 267 6428 x 29 or at advocacy.thetable@gmail.com

This workshop is FREE and open to all members of the community.

Community Action Training brings together community members to discuss issues of poverty and other social, political, environmental and economic injustices. It builds the capacity of community members to become effective change-makers through individual coaching and group workshops.Learn to navigate the system and to advocate for yourself and others. This 12 week workshop will provide you with the tools to build confidence and community.

Community Action Training is a 12 week course that explores the root causes of poverty and inequality while building skill sets in effective communication, conflict resolution, goal setting, boundaries and self-care. Topics covered include:

  • Social Determinants of Health
  • Introduction to Nonviolent Communication
  • Social Justice Movements
  • Advocacy for everyone
  • Community Resources

This group is geared to lower income community members only. Participants will receive a $10 gift card for each session they attend. Graduates are eligible to apply to become Peer Advocates in the Community Advocacy Office.

For more information on upcoming sessions or to register please contact Samantha Davidson at 613-267-6428 ext. 4 or email sam.thetable@gmail.com

 

A story about Community Action Training

Brandy was unsure about taking the Community Advocacy Program in January 2012. She did not attend the first class and nearly talked herself out of going the next week.

For the first few weeks she mostly observed the group and then slowly she began to contribute and share her thoughts and opinions. In March she attended the AGM where a debate arose about changing the organization’s name from The Perth and District Food Bank to The Table Community Food Centre. There were many “high powered” community members in attendance and there was some hesitancy to make the change.

Brandy stood up in front of the full room and shared how it felt to her, as a food bank user, to have to face the stigma of using the food bank. She said she would like the name to change to reflect all that was happening here at the center and to alleviate the shame of using the food bank services. The motion passed and we have since changed our name.

Brandy went on to complete the Community Action Training and to become a Peer Advocate. She has been involved in various social justice activities at the centre and has arranged several clothing swaps, worked on a free haircutting initiative and a free dental screening clinic. After some time in the office Brandy returned to college and obtained a Social Service Worker diploma from Algonquin College in Perth.

Dennis Marks receives his free hug from Peer Advocate Joanne CassidyThe Peer Advocates were out on the streets of Perth offering up free hugs and information about the services the office offers on Friday July 12th. In just one hour we shared 117 hugs with fellow community members, there is a lot of love in this little town! One of our favourite stories of the day involved an older gentleman. When asked if he would like a free hug, he said he needed a minute to think it over. He then went on to tell us that he hadn't been hugged in years. After a great hug shared together, he thanked us and moved along. We saw this same man stop at the end of the next block and hug another person, paying it forward. What an amazing experience, thanks for sharing the love Perth.

Peer Advocates are available four days a week during regular food bank hours, offering support, resources, and referrals on a wide variety of issues from lost identification to housing searches and so much more. If you are feeling frustrated or unsure about what supports or services are available to you, give an advocate a call at 613-267-6428 ext. 29 or come down to the office.  

In the picture below, Dennis Marks receives his FREE HUG from Peer Advocate Joanne Cassidy.

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