The Eastridge Evangelical Missionary Church in Whitchurch-Stouffville is not only a place for worship but also a food bank for local residents. Every Wednesday, church members prepare a potluck lunch at the church in order to help support people who are struggling financially. The weekly meals make life easier for those without enough money to buy groceries or whose cheques arrive after food banks have closed for the week.
“It can be a very stressful situation when you’re really in need,” said Eastridge Evangelical Missionary Church Pastor Shawna Laurin. “Having some community support is a blessing.”
The church’s food bank serves people from Whitchurch-Stouffville, Uxbridge and King City, but its reach extends far beyond the borders of those communities. Those living north to Barrie or south to Georgina come on a weekly basis in order to benefit from the services provided by the food bank. The service also attracts newcomers or low-income families who are trying to make their way through Canadian society and find that they need extra assistance once they arrive in their new homes.
Marlene Finlayson says she is benefiting from the food bank at Eastridge Evangelical Missionary Church. She has been a client for two months after arriving in the area from North Bay, Ont. Finlayson says she was lost and overwhelmed when she first moved to Whitchurch-Stouffville with her boyfriend and seven-month-old son. But since then, she said that leaving the Whitchurch-Stouffville neighbourhood to trek over three kilometres down several side streets every Wednesday is worth it for the quality of lunch provided by church members.
“It’s homemade soups, stuff like that,” said Finlayson as her son slept quietly in his stroller in between bites of chicken noodle soup. “It’s just good.”
The pastors and church members are known to be friendly people who treat you like family from the moment you walk through the doors. The church is also an immigrant-friendly congregation that welcomes newcomers who are coming to the area to start a new life in Canada.
Finlayson said she will be attending the Eastridge Evangelical Missionary Church for services Sunday as well, and that she has already become part of the community there.
“I’m going to make friends here,” Finlayson said with a smile. “We just need love.”
Eastridge Evangelical Missionary Church was established in 1987 and purchased its current building in 1999 in Whitchurch-Stouffville. Ten years ago, it became independent from Trinity Bible Fellowship, which had been founded by Pastor Laurin’s father more than 40 years previously.
On Sundays, Eastridge Evangelical Missionary Church holds two services at 10:00 and 11:30 am. The first service is a traditional liturgy, with music led by the Enchanted Joy Orchestra. The second service is an extended family-friendly message that includes both live music and stage performances while still maintaining preaching from the Bible.
The church also has a great sports program for children and young people. The basketball program runs throughout the winter between January and March, while summer sports include baseball, volleyball and soccer.
The Eastridge Evangelical Missionary Church is located at 12485 Tenth Line in Whitchurch-Stouffville near the corner of Hemlock Dr.
More To Read: Spring Lakes Golf Club