Telling Our Stories

Donation of Good Food Feeds the Soul

Dr. Bond referred a client to the Good Food box program.  Our client receives a free box per month thanks to the generous donations from a few community churches.  The client shared that they cried when they opened the box this month and stated "everything in that box was beyond needed and when you need food, especially food that is nourishing!  So much energy is spent on trying to find ways to get food, worrying about not having food and the stress of knowing that health hurdles are aggravated by that stress and the lack of nutritional food.  Those boxes allow me to exhale for a while... that is just as important as the food itself.  So thank you to all of you!  You are effecting lives in ways that you are not always aware of.  I, for one, am thankful that you are you!"


February 26, 2024
Our Assisted Living Program Shines Bright

My 93 year old mother-in-law has been receiving services from you which has enabled her to stay in her apartment.  Recently she experienced a fall resulting in fractured ribs and was in hospital for a couple of days.  In order to have a successful discharge, it was necessary to make a new plan of care with your program.  It was a pleasure to see how thoroughly and quickly you were able to accommodate her needs.  The communication with you and your staff has been exemplary.  We are so pleased to have her back in her apartment and thankful for all that you do.  Sincerely, JR

February 21, 2024
Our Annual Holiday Dinner

My spouse also enjoyed the event.  He was inspired to ask the farmer he works for to donate a pig for next Christmas or another event.  I said I would check with you first.

Even the kind thoughtfulness of the beautiful centerpieces continue as an extension into the community of the inspirational generosity of the event / season that will carry into the New Year.  I found out that Mom gave away her centerpiece to a fellow resident who was sad for not attending the event due to health.  I gave Mom mine yesterday not only to pay it forward but also to give her another opportunity to make someone else happy if she so chooses.

Merry Christmas!  God bless you, all the staff and all your families.  I wish everyone a very happy and prosperous New Year!

Message received from a Community Member/Volunteer of the Centre

December 14, 2023

Kiwanis Donates to the Centre's Cooking Program

The Kiwanis Club of Rodney donated $720.00 to the Let's Connect kids cooking program at the West Elgin Community Health Centre to pay for additional families to participate in the Krazy Kitchen program.  This program allows young mothers to come with their children, who are cared for by staff and volunteers while the moms learn how to cook a full meal for their family, and then take that meal, and their new skills home, for the family's nutritional benefit!  This donation will allow families who are currently on the waitlist to participate fully for a full year.  The Centre also offers other programs for parents with children who are three to six years old, called Kitchen Kids, as well Cookin' Kids, in which kids aged seven to nine learn how to cook a full meal, again taking it home to feed their family.

There are wait lists for all of these programs and donations are needed to support this and other valued programs at the Centre owing to a continuing shortage of funding.  Please support the hardworking, caring staff by contributing to these programs.  

Pictured are the Centre's Let's Connect Staff - Debi Feasey, Registered Nurse and Larissa Church, Registered Dietitian

And Rodney Kiwanis Past President, Larry Schneider

November 27, 2023
Good Food Box - Participant Appreciation
November 15, 2023
Rodney and West Lorne Community Gardens

The West Lorne and Rodney Community Gardens are thriving this year! 
A few gardeners have shared their positivity and appreciation with the Centre:

"The Community Garden allows me to plant some food items that are hard to get in stores here.  It also helps our daughter learn about growing and caring for food and also about bugs and worms.  Because we are so busy running the Rodney grocery store, it is difficult to meet people outside of the store where they see me and my family in one role.  We want to be part of the whole community.  To meet them on every level of life.  The Community Garden gives us that opportunity".

"Thank you for the opportunity to participate in the Garden again this year.  The design of the raised beds with a cut out has been most beneficial to accommodating my deteriorating health.  Overall this garden has given me the opportunity to be part of a larger group of same minded individuals who appreciate the benefits of being outside, of growing our own vegetables, of sharing our produce with others through our Caring Cupboard, of sharing the responsibility of watering and weeding, of learning more about composting, of coming together and to share advice, problems and solutions".

"I love to participate.  Since I have participated, I have had food.  This is so much fun.  The funding is great but could be used more for various items we need.  I have done this for 2 years.  The work that I do helps other people so the more we have the more we can help.  When the weeds start coming, we could use students to help with the weeding and get the volunteer hours they need for their diplomas.  We could use anyone willing to help us.  For all of us to learn how to plant and meet new people in the community and we can help each other.  We can tell the people involved are doing a fantastic job (Stephanie Skelding).  I take some of the food to eat and some to put in the freezer for winter to save money.  There is so much you can do with vegetables.  Make different food for the freezer such as cabbage rolls, etc.  I hope this program will continue".

Thank you Stephanie and the Health Promotion Team at the West Elgin Community Health Centre!




August 30, 2023

Investing in local solutions to rural challenges


Tanya Dale, rural homelessness systems navigator with the West Elgin Community Health Centre, stepped in to help.  Using flex funding intended to fill urgent gaps in service, Dale helped the mother and child find a place to live, covered first month's rent until other income kicked in and sourced used furniture through volunteers.  Today, the mom is safe and on her way to getting a job, and her child is thriving in school.

United Way supports two programs in rural West Elgin: a $15,000 flex fund that provides one-time financial assistance to people who are unhoused or at risk of homelessness; and $9,000 for a Gift-a-Ride program that provides no-cost transportation to residents for urgent trips such as medical appointments in the city.

"Transportation, housing and employment are interconnected issues, especially in a rural community where there's no public transit and the housing supply is limited", says community health services director Barry Fellinger.  "People on a fixed income sometimes have to make choices between groceries, rent or taking a cab to their doctor's office  so it's a health issue too," Fellinger adds.

PICTURED:  West Elgin Community Health Centre employee, Dave Peskar, helps with Gift-a-Ride.

June 22, 2023
Horticultural Wellness Program Feedback

"I recently volunteered at the Horticultural Therapy Program.  When I volunteer I am always rewarded with smiles and enjoyment of the people attending.  This time I was rewarded 3-fold.  I have never experienced the response of these 4 events.  It was Shelly Vergeer who brought it to West Lorne and her sister Annette, who has a degree in Horticulture from Guelph, did the presentations.  Annette is volunteering in Horticultural programs in Guelph working towards her registration as a Horticultural Therapist.  Everyday she brought a payload of plants, topsoil, bags and all the materials needed.  The participants were so enthusiastic and chatty that sometimes she had to project her voice to be heard but when she spoke everyone was silent because her knowledge and experience awed us all.  She was a professional in every sense of the word with an ease that made us all feel comfortable.  Every session she either gave us quality and healthy plants to dissect and plant or showed us how to make a Japanese ball (Kokedama) to display or how to use paints she brought to create cards and prints.  And then came the succulents.  With wisdom and patience she showed us how to care for the ones we were taking home.  Which ones were hardy and which ones more fragile.  As I said, I have been a volunteer for more than a few years at WECHC and attended many events but I have never seen the enthusiasm and joy that I saw in the people attending these 4 sessions.  By the time the fourth one finished we all felt like we had made new friends.  In attendance were residents of all 3 communities, people wo had recently moved to the area, some in their nineties and even some younger faces.  Men as well as women were in attendance.  Everyone left with their arms full, a smile on their face and one question... when can we do this again" Gayle.

The Horticultural Wellness Program also recently created a poem.  It is based on words that came to mind when participants were thinking about certain flowers.  What a beautiful, collaborative poem!  Enoy!

April 17, 2023
Recognition of Veteran Homelessness Systems Navigation

We are very proud of the hard work being done across the County to address homelessness.  We invite you to read the attached case study notably on pages 8-9 where our Tanya Dale, Homelessness Systems Navigator, describes how she supported a veteran experiencing homelessness. 

St. Thomas-Elgin has built an operating system that can ensure veteran homelessness is rare, brief, and non-recurring through community partnerships with the YWCA St. Thomas-Elgin, Canadian Mental Health Association, Thames Valley Addictions and Mental Health Services, West Elgin Community Health Centre, the Inn and local veteran organizations including the Royal Canadian Legion and Veterans Affairs Canada.  These relationships are critical to helping more veterans into housing faster.


Reaching Functional Zero Veteran Homelessness


April 13, 2023

Art Kits for Teens Feedback

The Centre received very positive feedback about our art kits for teens program.  These kits were possible with one time funding related to social prescribing / art therapy for teens.  And of course, we are grateful for the incredible work of our Let's Connect and Mental Health teams!

March 31, 2023