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Vicki and  Patti Paraschak prepare and cook

Since 1957 St. Matthew’s has been very involved with various worthwhile outreach programmes. In 1998 we added the Breakfast programme at Marlborough School in the west end. We began by donating our Lenten Coin collection. Then in 2003 we asked if there was anything else we might do to help out. Yes, was the response would you come and cook a hot breakfast for the kids? So began cooking a breakfast once a week. 

We work in teams of three or four people. Another team of muffin makers, individually, provide six dozen muffins each week. These are given to hungry kids as needed. Today, with a full to the brim school, breakfast is a Grab and Go. Choices for the children are a hot grilled cheese sandwich, cheese string and a fruit juice box. Many big smiles and thank-yous echo through the halls. We leave with smiles and warm hearts.

When the Lenten Coin Collection was no longer donated to the school, we decided to support the chaplaincy at the Windsor Jail with items for the inmates to enhance the chaplain’s work. In 2014 the new Southwest Detention Centre was opened and we continue to donate items to support the inmates like books, cards, playing cards, etc. With the concern of an experienced Corrections Officer, we developed a programme of providing the Centre with backpacks loaded with essential items to those inmates being released NFA (no fixed address – homeless) Each backpack has a bath towel, face cloth, 3 pairs each of socks and underwear, toilet paper and a hygiene pack. During the winter months gloves, scarves and hats are added.

The new Centre has a women’s life skills room and we soon approached the Volunteer Co-ordinator about giving a sewing programme. In 2017 six women began to give weekly lessons to women who earned the privilege to attend. The Centre purchased the sewing machines and we provide the fabric for items that they make and keep or give away.

Rev. Cathy MacKendrick

Our ministers say:

I made a mistake while instructing one of the inmates; I had to tell her that I forgot a step and we had to undo a seam. How embarrassing! As I admitted my mistake, she sat back, paused, and told me that it was all right, because we all make mistakes. I got a lesson in compassion from a most unlikely source. 


This ministry provides hope and love to the women, through which they can experience positive contact with the outside world without judgment. Simply to be accepted as individuals, and given hope in just a couple of hours, provides them with a feeling of worthiness. For me, this is a very rewarding and meaningful ministry.