Community Outreach

Outreach Focus

Emmanuel is a very outreach-oriented congregation, financially supporting many local charities and has a long tradition of providing community, shelter and hope in Waterloo through outreach, worship and fellowship. The Emmanuel Church property hosts a variety of faith communities as well as other community groups on a weekly basis. We continue to look outside our walls to be an engaged member within the community.
Many of our outreach activities are grouped under the umbrella of the Wayside Centre. The Bridgeport Café provides food and a place to gather on weekday afternoons while the Food Bag Program offers non-perishable food on Thursday afternoons. ShareWear provides gently used clothing and footwear. Details about other programs are included on the Waterloo Wayside website.

Benevolent Fund

Our benevolent fund is administered by our minister and is available to help local people in need of help.

A group of people holding hands on the beach

Refugee Sponsorship

Emmanuel United has a long history of refugee sponsorship. In the past few years, a family of four and a young man from Syria have been sponsored by the church. We also assist with the ongoing support of a Rohingyan refugee.

More recently we have entered partnerships with two organizations to facilitate sponsorships for family reunification. In these partnerships, community groups provide the financial and settlement support while Emmanuel assists with the legal sponsorship documents through the United Church of Canada refugee program.

Spring and Fall Food Drive

We have Spring and Fall food drives to collect non-perishable food which is used by the Food Bag program. We also collect fresh fruits and vegetables at our Harvest Home service in October.  These are used by the Bridgeport Café which is also part of the Wayside Centre.

A menagerie of food items and household products.

Sock Toss

One Sunday a year we bring socks to church and following the service we toss the socks at our minister, and a couple of other willing targets. Well over 1,000 pairs of socks are collected and given to the Waterloo Wayside Centre’s ShareWear program.

Mitten Tree and White Gift Sunday

At Christmas time, we set up a Mitten Tree where we collect hats, mittens, and scarves. On White Gift Sunday we ask for gifts of blue jeans, underwear, socks and other designated items.  The children’s hats, mittens and scarves are donated to a local children’s charity. Adult scarves, hats, mittens and other clothing go to the ShareWear program for use throughout the year. At the 2020 White Gift Sunday, we also collected instant oatmeal packets that went to support Food4Kids which was the recipient of the Children’s Time Outreach program for that year.

A stack of folded scarves and mittens.

Children's Time Outreach

On the second Sunday of each month, the children of Emmanuel move throughout the congregation, collecting spare change to donate to a local organization. In recent years we have supported: Food4Kids, Adventure4Change, White Owl Native Ancestry Association, Waterloo Wayside youth programs and OneRoof. Currently Food4Kids is the recipient of this collection and donations are made online while we worship remotely.


Needlecraft Group

This talented group makes baby and full-sized quilts, prayer shawls and other items to give away to our congregation and community. We have donated quilts to Marillac Place, the Wayside Centre and Compass Refugee Centre, given baby quilts to new parents or grandparents in the congregation and give prayer shawls to congregation members and friends of the church.

Sanctuary Garden

The Sanctuary Garden on the Dorset side of the church uses permaculture principles and Japanese natural farming techniques as it attempts to rebuild a healthy earth. It is an example of techniques such as plant guilds surrounding fruit trees, swales to use water wisely and a raised garden growing lettuce and zucchini to share with the community.

The United Church of Canada Mission and Service Fund

The United Church of Canada supports six areas

Donate to Emmanuel United Church

Donations to any partners of Emmanuel can be found on their respective webpages.

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