After being homeless for over a year, the drop-in child development and family support program Edgewood Connection has finally found a new home at the Corpus Christi Church.
Edgewood had been operating out of the Corpus Christi School for nearly 20 years, but was forced to move after the Toronto Catholic District School Board decided to sell the former school. When their lease expired in June 2010 the organization’s hunt for a new home began.
“It was impossible, we looked at churches, schools, we looked at all kinds of places,” said Susan Fletcher, executive director of Applegrove Community Complex, the group that oversees Edgewood. “They were all either too small or not available or too expensive.”
Enter trustee Catherine LeBlanc-Miller. A parishioner at the Corpus Christi Church, she broached the idea of a partnership with Monsignor Sam Bianco.
The idea seemed immediately appealing to Bianco, but there were a few roadblocks he had to navigate before finalizing the deal.
“The challenge that we had is that we had a commercial tenant and we needed the resources from that to operate our place,” said Bianco. “Because we’ve got lots of expenses and we’re not a huge congregation.”
This is where Les and Lena Bachorz, two parishioners at the church, stood up and offered to cover the money the church would have made from commercially renting the space.
Once the partnership was sealed, the church turned out to be a perfect location for the 150 plus members of Edgewood Connection.
“The church is so welcoming,” said Fletcher. “Monsignor comes down on many days and has a little chat with the children and they’ve given us all kinds of storage space for our supplies and equipment. They have just been wonderful.”
The church also has had no problems with the partnership so far and sees the program as an important part of the community.
“Everything I knew about this program told me that this is really vital to assisting whoever was taking care of a child,” said Bianco. “Its a really good learning program as well as socializing program, so it fitted in everything we wanted to do as a parish both for ourselves and also for the community.”
Still Edgewood has had to make sacrifices to make this new location work. They now only operate on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Also participants are being told to call in before showing up because if the church needs the space for a funeral or some other event, it has the right to take over the hall from Edgewood on short notice.
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