NEWS

and our Blog!

Our friend Elwood Shreve came out again to see what ROCK is up to.  Read about our partnership with the CMHA in Chatham-Kent.

Look what a bunch of grade 9 students can do!  

Students from UCC grade 9 religion class worked on a Service Learning Project. The student-led initiative took what they had learned in class about being a disciple of Christ and put it into action.

 

They decide on a cause and figured out how they could help. The students decided to do a Homeless Awareness Week at UCC. They challenged each grade level to bring in certain items.

The class that brought in the most items won a pizza lunch which the grade 9's paid for. Throughout Homeless Awareness Week the grade 9 students did announcements about the facts of homelessness in Chatham-Kent, put up posters around the school and created digital slides for our broadcast system.

Click 'View More' to see the FULL STORY.


WE NEED YOU!!


In the last year R.O.C.K. Missions has grown so immensely that we are constantly and actively looking for additional volunteers. Serving the homeless and impoverished community is our heart, and we are looking for like minded individuals to come along with us. We have opportunities that include working in your own home, to coming out weekly – whatever suits your life.


What do our volunteers do?


Outreach – twice a week we go out and serve approx. 300 meals to our friends. We have 4 routes, and each team takes a route. We deliver meals, hygiene, some clothing, and harm reduction to those who need it. This provides us an opportunity to engage with as many friends as possible and try to connect them with community organizations that could provide support, such as CMHA, Social Services, and others.


Kitchen – twice a week we meet at the Chatham-Kent Nonprofit Centre (formerly the United Way) and make these lunches. We also create hygiene bags, sort clothing, and other smaller tasks.


Social media – are you a social media guru? We are actively looking for a few people to keep our social media active. We are also looking for additional blog post writers!


Fundraising – are you good at asking for donations? We need a team of people who are willing to work, mostly from home, or on the phone, to reach out for fundraising activities.


Friends, we all know that the cold weather is coming (some would argue that it’s already here). We are working diligently with the community to find solutions to keeping our friends warm and safe. ROCK has committed to staying active in this community and work as hard as we can to make a difference in our friends’ lives. Come with us. Every person that helps with ROCK is making an impact, and in our eyes every volunteer is giving the same amount. Our puzzle isn’t complete with all of you.


If you are interested, you can visit our website www.rockmissions.com and click the volunteer link. You can also email us at reachoutchathamkent@gmail.com.


Much Love,

The ROCK Team



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Please take a moment and read this amazing account from one of our dedicated volunteers. Keely is an amazing woman, and we are proud to have her on our team.

My name is Keely Matsusaki and I am an average eighteen-year-old university student. On a typical day, I wake up in my bed, eat breakfast, drink some coffee, maybe even work out if I’m feeling it. These are some pretty normal things I’m sure a lot of people do every single morning. Now take a second and think about your normal day. I’m pretty sure you wake up in your warm home, in your nice bed. This may seem like something that’s far from atypical, but it may be surprising to you that this necessity is an element that we all take for granted. That feeling of being comforted, comfortable, and above all, safe.


When I got home from university I felt pretty useless. Everything was closed, all of my summer jobs and opportunities no longer existed. So as I’m sure a lot of people did during this pandemic I decided to start running. It was during this new hobby I came across an older gentlemen walking downtown. He was friendly, smiley but when he saw me he couldn’t hold back his emotions. The tears flowed steadily as he explained that all his money went to paying his rent, he lost his job because of COVID. He didn’t even have money for toilet paper, a very well sought over product back in April. It was awful to see someone so devastated over what their life had become in just a matter of a week and here I was feeling down because I had to sit at home.


It was through this encounter that my Mom, Sister, and I became a part of Reach Out Chatham-Kent Missions or ROCK. ROCK is a not-for-profit organization that is approaching its first anniversary. When we started volunteering with ROCK we made around 150 lunches twice a week. A sandwich along with a variety of snacks. Now ROCK delivers over 300 lunches twice a week to Chatham’s most vulnerable community members, that may sound like an amazing feat but remember for some people that is the only meal they will eat. I will refer to these community members as our friends as we do at ROCK.


As time went on I wanted to get more involved as I learned more about the type of work ROCK does. That is when I joined the outreach program. Going out into the community to deliver lunches and necessities such as hygiene products, clothing, and harm reduction. However, I personally believe ROCK’s greatest contribution is the unconditional support and companionship given to all members of our community.


The most eye-catching word is probably harm reduction. A fair majority of the people who benefit most from ROCK are individuals who use substances, and I am aware of how easy it may be to just assume they don’t matter or you may question ROCK in why they choose to help someone who doesn’t want to help themselves. Trust me I was once there as well but it is easy to assume things you have no idea about and while it may be easy to assume the worst in people through the unspoken lessons I have gathered at ROCK it is important to show support not judgment.


It is a sad reality to hear that some of our friends use drugs as gateways from their trauma and past. Some of our friends are veterans extremely affected by PTSD, some of our friends live out of backpacks and sofa surf from one house to the next or spend the night on the street, and some of our friends are not much older than me but were on the opposite end of the scale living in foster care until they aged out of the system. Drugs became the easiest solution for all the mental and physical pain they endured. It is important to state that not all people end up on the street or in unsustainable housing because they use drugs. Many are victims of mental illness or have had unfortunate circumstances in life which has led to drug abuse. Mental Illness takes control of more lives than just the ones on the street, some people are just lucky to have support and love to help them through it. That is what ROCK does, shows support and kindness to those who would not otherwise receive it.


This amazing work would be non-existent if it weren’t for the amazing core group of volunteers who have made an enormous difference in our friend’s lives and my own. On my first day of outreach I watched a man walk into a drug house and return ten minutes later with no shoes. When I asked him where his shoes went he responded with “someone needed them more”. This amazing man then continued to work all day with size six flip flops on, less than half his shoe size. It was after that moment of such selflessness I knew this work was for me, and I had a long way to go to becoming as sincere as this unique group of volunteers.


This article isn’t for me or about me. I wanted to write this to show my love for the people who are all a part of the amazing work ROCK does and bring awareness to the daily struggles that are becoming more common in our small community. If you have taken anything from this short display please do not judge or condemn someone to their present actions. It is important to reduce the stigma associated with people who are less fortunate. This summer has been everything but expected. But through this unprecedented time in our history I have learned lessons in life that you really can’t find in any book or seminar. The importance of being kind and showing acceptance can give someone a chance for a life many of us take for granted. It is always possible to make a difference in someone's life, through kindness and empathy you can change the life of someone you barely even know. At ROCK we believe everyone matters. ROCK is celebrating its one year anniversary this Saturday August 22. Please join us in the celebrations at the Bowlerama for a BBQ and find out more about how you can make a difference.


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A lot can happen in a year. A great amount. ROCK Missions is an exciting example of that. And we’d like to celebrate that with you!


We’re holding a one-year anniversary BBQ/get to know us at Chatham’s Bowlerama. Stop by and say hello, and help us spread the news!



A year in reflection – what have we done to grow thus far:

· serving up at 300 people in our community, twice a week

· opened an emergency food hamper program thanks to the May 16th Miracle

· offering basic first aid, harm reduction, clothing and hygiene

· partnered with CKMH to offer mental health support, on the spot, and on-going referrals

· partnered with other organizations and services to fill the needs in Chatham-Kent

· driven numerous friends to appointments and programs

· helped many friends get their health cards

· referred many of our friends to other social services and supports in the community

· offered LOVE AND HOPE to as many as we possibly could (which is perhaps the most important success of all)


All this has happened, and will continue to, because of you, our community. The support and love and positivity that we’ve received throughout our first year has been incredible. It has brought to us many amazing volunteers, donators, cheerleaders, and friends. We can’t begin to express how grateful we are for all of you.


Please, we’d love to see you. And we ask that you continue to spread the word about ROCK Missions. Year number two is going to be as amazing, and we’d like you all to take this journey with us!


Much love from the entire ROCK team!

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