Welcome to Linking Hands! A voice for poverty reduction in Dundas County.
Guiding Principle: Resilient and sustainable rural communities improve the quality of life for everyone.
About Linking Hands
The following infographic gives a brief summary of who we are and what we do at Linking Hands.
A project of the House of Lazarus, Linking Hands’ history dates back, roughly, to 2011, but there is an argument for the claim that it is almost as old as the Mountain-based ecumenical mission itself, and a history of Linking Hands must refer to the history of its founder.
The House of Lazarus
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.
In 2011, the House of Lazarus organized a community forum, which took place that fall in Williamsburg. The event made it possible for those affected by poverty, those working in fields dealing with poverty, and those with the power to positively impact rural poverty to come together for a day, where they could discuss and identify the challenges specific to Dundas County and, more importantly, brainstorm ideas for potential solutions. Those present during the full-day event included municipal politicians, religious groups, social service agencies, service clubs, healthcare providers, business owners, and the general public.
The forum’s ultimate goal: gathering the voices of all those present, recruiting passionate and committed volunteers for the cause, and formulating a practical plan to collectively take action.
And so, Linking Hands – a community-based, community-led initiative to bring Dundas County’s communities and its people together with the information, services, resources, and networking connections they need to live a better, more quality-filled life – was born!
What is Linking Hands?
Linking Hands is an initiative created to reduce poverty in Dundas County by listening to and addressing the needs of the people throughout the county’s many communities.
Who is Linking Hands?
While the House of Lazarus is the “parent” organization behind Linking Hands, the initiative is comprised of volunteers from several sectors of the county’s surrounding communities, including those facing poverty themselves and those working in organizations or on projects connected to issues of poverty. Linking Hands members include anyone who wants to participate and become part of the solution.
What does Linking Hands do?
Linking Hands has several functions: it educates the public on poverty – its definition, the many forms it can take, the unique way it makes itself known in rural communities, and more; it provides opportunities for people and communities to work, play, and ‘be’ together, encouraging connection and neighbourliness; it creates activities, programs, events, and projects to help resolve issues of poverty in the county; and it strives to provide a comprehensive summary of the information (available services, programs, events, etc.) the community wants and needs.
How does Linking Hands work?
Linking Hands is led by a Steering Committee, a group comprised of agencies, organizations, and residents who are passionate about making a positive difference in their communities.
While the steering committee sets the course for Linking Hands, it is the task of the seven Working Groups to take action, brainstorming goals for potential projects, events, and solutions and then making them happen. These groups include:
- Community Connectivity
- Financial Health
- Healthy Living
- Lunch and Learn
Linking Hands has numerous partners of varying degrees, from those people and agencies who have committed to plotting the initiative’s direction by joining the steering committee to those who have volunteered for one of the seven working groups, or to lend a hand at one of our many one-time events. We have partners who offer their facilities (and, in some cases, food) free of charge for such events as Lunch and Learn, Tea and Talk, meetings, forums, and more.
It is the generosity and support of these organizations, agencies, and individuals throughout Dundas County that allows the Linking Hands inititiave to grow, always striving to meet its mandate of reducing poverty in Dundas County.