Ontario Commandery

Established in January 2015, the Ontario Commandery is committed to serving the Lord’s Sick and Poor by raising funds to support local services that directly impact the health and well-being of citizens.  Currently our focus is on palliative and hospice care.

We are a self-funded non-profit corporation.  All of our administrative costs are funded through membership dues.  Events are run on a cost recovery basis ensuring 100% of the donations received are given to charitable organizations.  To date we have raised more than $40,000 and have supported 4 palliative care initiatives.

Our desire, as a Commandery, is to add value to, not duplicate, local service delivery. Our approach is to reach out to existing local charities, discuss with them their needs, and identify how we can best work together to meet these needs.

Using this approach, in 2016, the Ontario Commandery partnered with local charities in Ottawa and Toronto to fund two palliative care initiatives:

1. Ottawa Mission Hospice Renovation

The Diane Morrison Hospice, at The Ottawa Mission, provides 24-hour palliative nursing care to homeless people f acing the final days of their lives.  Currently it is the only hospice in North America that provides palliative care specifically to homeless men and women.  By providing an alternative to hospital care, it’s estimated the hospice saves the hospital system an estimated $50,000 per person.  In 2016, the Mission decided to expand its capacity from 14 to 21 beds.  Given the hospice receives no financial support from government, the project could only move ahead with support from the community, including support from the SOSJ Ontario Commandery.  The Commandery partnered with the Mission and ‘Barristers for a Better Bytown’, (a charity whose directors and members are lawyers) to fund the renovation of the relocated nursing station.

2. The Good Wishes Project

The SOSJ Ontario Commandery, partnered with the Good Neighbours’ Club and Inner City Health Associates (ICHA), to launch the Good Wishes project, a program designed to meet some of the more personal needs of homeless living in Toronto to help ease their end-of-life.  Individuals experiencing homelessness are known to have higher mortality rates than the general population and to die at an earlier age. Their palliative care needs are also high.  There may be an absence of close family members or social networks to provide support in a way that respects their personal journey.  The goal of THE GOOD WISHES project is to personalize the process of dying and to bring comfort and dignity, during their last days, to those who have lived a difficult life.  Some examples of the “wishes” could be a special meal with friends, facilitating a visit by an out of town family member, or a request for a favourite food.

These are two concrete examples of how the SOSJ has made a direct contribution to improving the lives of the Lord’s Sick and Poor in Ontario.  And it is our intent to continue to raise funds to support worthwhile community activities.

We know our success is directly dependent on our ability to grow our membership and to raise funds.  To that end, we have set membership expansion and increased fund raising as our priorities for 2017.  We currently have 10 members and recognize that, to raise more funds, we must grow this membership.  If you would like more information about the Commandery, our activities to date or, if you would like to become more active with us, please reach out to us either through this website or via email at: darylrock4@gmail.com

In the meantime, we will continue to reach out and work with community partners across the province to help meet some of the needs of the Lord’s Sick and Poor in Ontario.

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