How It All Began
In 2001 the Outreach Committee of George Street United Church was approached by Kathleen Pratt LeGrow on behalf of the LeGrow Family regarding the Church’s plan to remodel the church lecture hall and the existing kitchen to begin an outreach program based on offering weekly meals. Kathleen, on behalf of the family and as a dedication to her late brother Jimmy Pratt, offered to provide the necessary funding to carry out renovations and bring the kitchen up to the required commercial standards.
In January 2002, the Jimmy Pratt Memorial Outreach Centre served its first weekly meal with some 45 patrons being served.
Some of our original volunteers are still volunteering in the kitchen today. Mr. Frank Norman was the original volunteer cook and manager of the Centre and his service has been commemorated on our “Wall of Fame” at the Centre along with other long-time volunteers that have since passed away.
The Centre has grown tremendously since it began, as has the need for support services for those facing challenges in everyday life.
The Jimmy Pratt Memorial Outreach Centre is an incorporated body and registered charity dedicated to the support of individuals needing help to manage the challenges of everyday life. We are committed to realistic values and a Vision and Mission as provided below.
As a result of extensive programming, we aspire to support all residents of the downtown core which includes people living in boarding houses, those with no fixed addresses, those living below the poverty level and those simply unable to face the challenges of everyday life. The Centre offers a friendly, warm and welcoming place to go during the week where they are treated with respect and provided with services to help improve their health and welfare.
Our mission for the Jimmy Pratt Centre is the provision of hot nutritious meals and other support services to those in need, while treating our patrons with kindness and respect. We strive to improve the spiritual, physical, and emotional well-being of those whom we serve.
To be a self-sustaining Centre, with the help of corporate sponsors, fundraising and program support from various levels of government.
- Prepare nutritious meals once a week
- Serve nutritious meals in a warm friendly environment
- Interact with clients in a friendly but non-intrusive manner
Help Us Help Others
As with most not-for-profit organizations, the Jimmy Pratt Memorial Outreach Centre very quickly became a focal point for social interaction while enjoying a hot meal. As the number of patrons grew, so did the cost of equipment, maintenance and food. The Centre is fortunate to have a committed and energetic team of volunteers, some of whom have served tirelessly from our early beginnings.
While the Centre does not receive any annual administrative funds from government sources, we are fortunate that we have been able to generate some amazing corporate sponsors. This has not only provided a means to needed revenue, but a very important source of additional volunteers.
We are told both by our volunteers and our patrons that our programming is like a family gathering.
Working with the Jimmy Pratt Centre has been a very rewarding experience. Preparing and serving breakfast as a team is a great way to start the week and to give back to our community. The Centre does some very important work in our community and I am pleased to be able to support it.
The patrons and volunteers of the Jimmy Pratt Centre are our neighbors and friends. The Centre provides essential assistance to the people of our community and at Fortis, we are happy to be one of their partners.
Volunteering at the Jimmy Pratt Centre is a very rewarding experience and one that is most gratifying and certainly a welcomed opportunity to help those needing a hot meal and friendly smile.
It is so nice to have the volunteers at the Centre call you by your first name and take the time to chat.
Help Us to Help Those We Serve
Like any established organization dedicated to helping these in need and facing difficult times, there has to be a plan and an ongoing evaluations process. Our greatest and most time-consuming operational need is volunteers, financial support and the ability to do financial planning and budget development projections. We would not be able to continue services without dedicated volunteers and the support of the corporate community. We strive to provide insight into the needs of our clients. This raises the questions on whether we can provide these services, have the necessary resources and whether we can access them?
- Urgent need for Volunteers – These that can make a commitment for the future.
- Sponsorship – Corporations, Churches, Social Clubs, Foundations and individuals and others
- Support – In-kind offerings, donations and support for our fundraising efforts
In 2013 the Centre became an incorporated not for profit and in 2015 the Centre was registered with CRA as a registered charity. Based on the overall success through new program development at the Centre, the newly elected Board of Directors of the day spearheaded an organizational planning
session to assist in the development of a new Vision and Mission Statement.
The Board Chair, at the time, Josh Shea, summed up the overall operational road to success this way: “Our intention is to serve all those that seek our assistance to the best of our ability and in a manner that we would want to be served ourselves. We will be non-judgmental, non-intrusive and provide a family environment to all”.
The Centre prides itself on developing programs that meet current needs and those of the future. Programming is therefore geared to identified needs and offers the flexibility for ongoing change.
The Jimmy Pratt Centre offers a number of outreach objectives and are centred around community need. We reach out to all facets of the community to offer help in many aspects of everyday life. Whether its our seniors, those facing barriers to everyday life, we offer a helping hand.
In order to energize innovative fundraisers, The board of Jimmy Pratt has been instrumental in the coordination of such events as Hot Soup and Cool Jazz as well as several other major fundraisers like Corporate Dinners, concerts and rentals. Check out our calendar of events.
The Jimmy Pratt Centre is governed by a board of directors composed of nine local individuals. The board meets on a monthly basis and also serves on working committees to ensure the consistent governance of the organization, its vision, mission as well as goals and objectives. There are many ways to reach us, find out how.