Top charity offers 'incredible' service for 'little cost'

For the fifth year in a row, the Inner City Home of Sudbury has made the list of agencies where donation dollars are said to go the farthest.

Sudbury's Inner City Home operates with one-and-a-half paid positions and 120 volunteers

For the fifth year in a row, the Inner City Home of Sudbury has made the list of agencies where people’s donation dollars are said to go the farthest.

Charity Intelligence — the group that puts the list together — combs through the books and looks at the services charities provide. It then puts out an annual list of top picks.

"Inner City Home of Sudbury works on a staff of literally one-and-a-half people (who) co-ordinate the efforts of about 120 volunteers," said Greg Thompson, director of research for Charity Intelligence. "So, for very little cost, they are able to provide incredible service to clients in Sudbury."

Charity Intelligence assesses more charities each year, but its top picks are not a comprehensive list. Thompson said it researched 400 of the country's 86,000 charitable organizations.

Mary Ali has been opening the front door of the Inner City Home of Sudbury for more than 20 years. She is the executive director of the crisis drop in centre, which provides food bank services and a meeting place where people can just drop in for a coffee.

"We help those that would otherwise fall through the cracks in our society," Ali said.

"[We help] people who are down and out, people who are in financial need [and] people who are in crisis situations."

Inner City Home of Sudbury is the only agency in the north that made Charity's Intelligence's top picks this year.

Providing counseling, hospitality

In April 1986, the city's Inner City Home opened its doors on Elm Street. The home's aim is "to help as much as we can, or refer people to places that can help them."

The Inner City Home opened under the initiative of Rev. Don McMillan and St Patrick's Roman Catholic Parish, when the parish purchased the building.

At that time, it was evident there was a need to provide services lacking in Sudbury's inner core. Initially the impetus was to provide counseling and hospitality. But in March 1986, with the United Steelworkers of America closing its food bank, it was decided to offer this service too, since there was a growing awareness of this primary need. Food donations started coming from the Catholic Charities Soup Kitchen, which made surplus food available.

Today's food sources come through donations from many local businesses providing surplus food. Donations also come from regular food drives undertaken by local churches, schools, numerous services, organizations and other sources.

The vision in those years was to provide a home of hospitality, a drop-in crisis centre and a place where people could come and share their own personal story.

Source: Inner City Home of Sudbury