St. Matthew’s House – 
moving in new directions

Hollis Hiscock

A new van and a pilot project for isolated vulnerable seniors will enable St. Matthew’s House (SMH) Hamilton to better care for people, according to their press release.

With one year of funding the Senior’s Isolation Pilot project focuses on working with newly isolated vulnerable seniors in the Keith and Gibson/Lansdale neighbourhoods.

“Seniors in this part of the city face an average age death of 65”, said SMH Vice Chair David Savage. “The overall average for Hamilton is 80 plus.”

Matthew house Sami and Mary Lou_
Staff member Mary Lou and Volunteer Sami work at St. Matthew’s House food bank, which served over 2,000 individuals during August 2018. Photo: Renée Wetselaar

He predicted, “This project will outreach to seniors who are newly isolated and offer support to assist with housing, finances, healthcare, diet/nutrition and socialization.”

The recently acquired six-foot cargo van, used mainly for food pick-ups and deliveries, will benefit SMH’s food bank users at the Barton Food Bank and Roxborough Food Bank, and in partnership with the new East End Food Centre planned for early 2019.

Matthew house van-adj
The new van not only advertises what St. Matthew’s House does for the community it serves, it also reminds the public of some stark realities in our society. Photo: Renée Wetselaar

“As we prepare to open our third food bank, we will need a reliable vehicle to ensure all three are properly stocked,” said Executive Director Renée Wetselaar.

“We will also use the new van,” she continued, “to make home deliveries for seniors and other food bank users who are economically vulnerable but unable to access traditional food banks.”

Over the last year, SMH gathered over 200,000 pounds of food, and in August over 2,000 individuals were served at its food banks. In addition, it regularly feeds 20–30 seniors two hot meals daily and provides each with weekend food kits.

More information on St. Matthew’s House at stmatthewshouse.ca.