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Kelly Luscombe, helping Oakville’s most vulnerable

Kelly Charity Oakville
Kelly Luscombe, helping Oakville’s most vulnerable
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Thomas Desormeaux

Thomas Desormeaux

Thomas Desormeaux is a reporter and writer who lives close to the border of Oakville and Mississauga. He has lived in the GTA for his entire life and is interested in global events, politics and government.

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“Anything that can pick them up and let them know that someone out there cares.”

Kelly Luscombe is a single mother who lives in Oakville with her seven children. She works at the Oak Park Neighbourhood Centre off of Trafalgar Road, an organization that believes in supporting the community, especially the most vulnerable. Their motto is “Support, Connect, Engage.” Even with all this, she still found the time in the past few weeks to organize food drives for the hungry and write Mother’s Day Cards for the elderly.

Kelly moved to Oakville 17 years ago and back then she was in “a really dark, deep, bad situation.” It’s her familiarity with being down on her luck that allows Kelly to be so good at helping people. “I am a single mum with seven kids and I know what it’s like to struggle,” she says.

Kelly says that ever since that time in her life, it comes naturally to her to help people who are having difficulties. She has now worked at Oak Park Neighbourhood Centre for five years. She is the facilities manager and provides first-hand knowledge on how to support families in need.

Sandra Edmondson is an Oakville woman who has witnessed Kelly’s kindness first-hand. She first met Kelly when volunteering at Oak Park and has since been a beneficiary of her good deeds.

food banks COVID-19

Kelly has been working at Oak Park Neighbourhood Centre for five years.

Sandra says that Kelly supports people who come intro the centre by sharing information about community supports and tips on how to get by on a limited income. “I just thought, this woman is absolutely incredible. She’s helping moms right now to get the CERB and help them to find money from different sources.”

Since the pandemic began, Kelly has been giving even more of herself to the people of Oakville. She recently put out a call on Facebook for people to join her in making nutritious meals for the hungry and for frontline workers.

Kelly Luscombe Charity Oakville

Food kits that Kelly and other volunteers delivered to people all over Oakville.

That was very important. So they have something to read a just now — even during these unprecedented times — that they are cared about. They are thought about.

“She’s been going above and beyond,” says Sandra. Kelly also made care packages for seniors on Mothers Day. “She drove around to their houses and dropped them off. She is like a food bank. People in need don’t always have cars, so she gets in her car and drives around to whoever she’s helping that day,” Sandra says.

Kelly often gets support for her ideas by posting them on social media. According to Sandra, she is active on pages like Oakville Talk and one’s designed for mother’s to help each other out. She reached out on the Volunteer Opportunities in Oakville page for her Mother’s Day event and received a cascade of help.

“I had said I wanted to do these bags for seniors. ‘Would anyone like to jump on board.’ It’s amazing how many other families helped,” says Kelly.

Kelly Luscombe Charity Oakville

According to Kelly, a key part of the Mother’s Day gifts were the written notes that she and the other volunteers included. “That was very important. So they have something to read and just know, even during these unprecedented times, that they are cared about. They are thought about.”

It is no surprise that Kelly is able to motivate people to join in on her ideas.

“She’s become an inspiration to me,” says Sandra, mentioning that the two are now going to hand out food together this Friday. “I think she’s absolutely inspirational and I think there should be more people like her. I can’t imagine an Oakville where everybody was like that. It would be a wonderful place.”

Earlier this week, Sandra’s dog passed away. She was understandably very sad. But then she got her card from Kelly’s Mother’s day program. “I got one delivered to my house. It’s a little card from a little kid and it’s adorable. It made me cry when they came to my door,” she says.

 

Ways that Kelly thinks people can help out

Oak Park Neighbourhood Centre is where Kelly works. They have been serving Oakville for years and provide food assistance, counselling and financial advice. Since the pandemic began, Oak Park has been running a make-shift 24/7 food bank in bins on their front porch. They run programs for families and children and post helpful videos on their Facebook page. They accept donations and volunteers.

Kelly also volunteers at Front Line Outreach, a religious organization that helps people experiencing poverty to become a part of the community. They provide food and opportunities like camp and cafe nights. People can donate or help out by visiting their website.

One of the most important things though, according to Kelly, can be initiative.

 

Oakville groups to help during COVID-19

 

Personal Initiative

“A lot of this is my own initiative because, like I said, I know the struggle,” she says. “You have to make the time for other people. You have to make time for your family. There are a lot of hours in a day, you just have to balance it.”

According to Kelly, it is all about empathy when it comes to motivating yourself. When you understand what others are going through, it gets you up and moving. “I know the struggle, the struggle is real and I’ve lived it for a long time,” she says.

“It’s important, no matter how little you have, to share that.”

 

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