The House of Lazarus got its start in 1986 when a local minister with a desire to help those living in poverty began feeding the poor, using the trunk of his car as his base of operations. Eventually, the charitable venture moved to the reverend’s garage in Dundela and then to the local church before taking up space in an actual office-like setting in nearby South Mountain, thanks to the generosity of a local businessman.
In 1999, the mission received a large donation, allowing the House of Lazarus’ board of directors’ to purchase a large parcel of land in Mountain – the charity’s current home. At this time, the House of Lazarus became a registered charity, and board members saw the move to its new location as an opportunity not only to grow to fit the needs of the surrounding population, but to also one-day become a hub – a one-stop spot where people find the services, resources, and information they need.
To do this, the mission made various connections and built and fostered many relationships throughout Dundas County and the surrounding area. The House of Lazarus has been and continues to be committed to raising its voice and sharing its passion, offering comprehensive and ongoing support to those in need, AND going above and beyond by becoming an advocate in the fight to reduce and eventually eliminate poverty altogether.
The “action seed” that eventually gave birth to what is now Linking Hands was planted in 2010, during the House of Lazarus’ participation in the Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition’s social audit. The mission’s representative to a stand, voicing concern for the lack of attention given to the rural communities’ experiences with poverty, and shining a light on the fact that poverty solutions, like poverty experiences, are not and cannot be “one size fits all,” as those living in rural areas have unique challenges not shared by their city counterparts.
The House of Lazarus emphasized the fact that rural poverty issues are so vast and complex they cannot be solved by one organization. In fact, the mission has long since recognized the need for collaboration on a community-wide scale.