Richard LeBlanc updates CCSAC on Centre 507’s Recent Activities
In June, Richard LeBlanc, Executive Director of Centre 507, provided CCSAC representatives with an update on this important neighbourhood program. Located in Centretown United Church at 507 Bank Street, it has been in operation since 1983. As well as offering meals, Centre 507 provides access to community resources including help with resumés, tax and legal assistance, and help with housing and other needs-based services. Clients can also participate in special events including banking and wellness classes, as well as assisting with the day-to-day operation of the Centre.
One of the busiest day programs in the city, Centre 507 had 70,000 visits last year. Principal support comes from the City of Ottawa and the United Church of Canada, nationally and locally, but also from many individual donors. Eighty weekly volunteers and seven full-time staff keep the place running. Since the pandemic, hours have been increased with the facility now open evenings and weekends. Breakfast and lunch are served six days a week and dinner four evenings a week. Food is available all day Sunday. The Centre serves meals with an emphasis on quality and good nutrition. With escalating food prices, demand has grown; the budget for food has recently tripled. The meals at the Centre are 100 percent table service with all clients being waited on for meals and beverages. Their clients are treated with dignity and respect
Over the years, Richard has noticed a huge change with more people living outside and more dangerous drugs leading to overdoses. Most of the clients suffer from isolation and loneliness. Centre 507’s recreation program is intended to build inclusion and community. People living alone and in poverty often need to be reminded to have fun and enjoy life. With the support of sponsors, the Centre takes people to sports games or arranges visits to special exhibits at the National Art Gallery. Most of the people coming to Centre 507 live in the Centretown area and about 60 percent rely on the disability program. Richard stressed that at Centre 507, everything is, above all, a community. Everyone is welcome. More information about this important community resource is available at www.centre507.org.